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Official: UK tourists can visit the United States from 8th November

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Whilst we haven’t yet seen the final details, it has been confirmed this afternoon that the US will open its borders, land and air, from 8th November.

This has been reported by Reuters here and confirmed via Twitter by a White House official.

The headline requirements are what you would expect:

  • you must be fully vaccinated (Astra now accepted, presumably 14 days before travel) and
  • you must show a negative test result (not clear what type)

This is literally all that is known so far. We do NOT know what the position is with unvaccinated children, and we do not know what form of documentation will be required to prove your status.

There will be no entry into the US for anyone who is unvaccinated, which will actually be a retrograde step for some countries whose citizens have so far been welcome regardless of vaccination.

In a statement, Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss said:

“The US Government’s confirmation that fully vaccinated UK visitors will be able to enter the US from 8 November is welcome news and finally allows consumers and businesses to book travel with confidence.  The US has been our heartland for more than 37 years and we are simply not Virgin without the Atlantic.  We’ve been steadily ramping up flying to destinations such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and we can’t wait to fly our customers safely to their favourite US cities, on holiday or to reconnect with friends, loved ones and colleagues.

“As the UK forges its recovery from the pandemic, the reopening of the transatlantic corridor and the lifting of Presidential Order 212F acknowledges the great progress both nations have made in rolling out successful vaccine programmes. The UK will now be able to strengthen ties with our most important economic partner, the US, boosting trade and tourism as well as reuniting friends, families and business colleagues. We are thankful to Prime Minister Johnson and the UK Government, the Biden administration and our industry partners for their support in removing these barriers and allowing free travel between our countries to resume.”

Sean Doyle, CEO of British Airways, was briefer:

“Nearly 600 days since the introduction of the US travel ban, this is a pivotal moment for the entire travel industry and finally provides the certainty we have so desperately needed. 

We can’t wait to welcome our customers back on board and reconnect friends and families across the Atlantic, rebuild US-UK business relationships and reclaim Britain’s position as a leader on the global stage.”

A formal announcement will be made later on Friday.

Comments (99)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Holmes says:

    It’s interesting to see the move on unvaccinated travelers. I visited the US from Ghana (very easily) last month with no need for vaccination proof.

    Just as a DP – the NHS app was accepted by all places requiring proof of vaccination (n.b as above this didnt include the airline or at the border).

    • John says:

      But most people in Ghana would not be able to visit the US because the US would not give them a visa.

      • Mr. AC says:

        Spot on. Similarly, no real need to restrict travel from Russia since you can’t get a US visa in Russia for the past 3 years.

  • Andrew says:

    Can’t wait to visit again.

    Might get a chance to use the ESTA I bought in February 2020!

  • Jen T says:

    No Avios availability at all on 8-14 November on any US route from UK as far as I can see. Completely blocked off in all classes.

  • Paul says:

    Where has the PCR test requirement been announced?

    • Rob says:

      It’s in the Reuters article.

      • Paul says:

        I can’t see a mention of PCR?
        I have heard rumours it will change from antigen to PCR or PCR + antigen, but not from anywhere official.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Sloppy reporting I reckon. Everyone else just says a test

        • roberto says:

          Vegas. 4th December, three nights in Circa and three nights at Resorts World in the Conrad. BA in Club on a 241 in a new suite.
          WOOP WOOP…….

        • Rob says:

          What other sort of test do you seriously expect them to accept? A DIY lateral flow?

          • Paul says:

            Well they currently accept a supervised lateral flow (in person or DIY via video link)

          • TGLoyalty says:

            It’s literally what they accept now as do plenty of the rest of the world…

          • Steve says:

            I used one to enter the US this summer, so…

          • A says:

            Because a PCR isn’t currently required, Rob. They currently accept a rapid viral antigen test….. I took it at expresstest T3 travelling home last week and got the results with 35 mins

          • Nathan says:

            The CDC guidance is clear that rapid antigen (i.e. lateral flow) is accepted. Unless they change these rules I expect it to carry over for these new relaxations to.
            The grey area is whether self administered is accepted, there are conflicting reports of success on reddit etc. However for my trip next month I’ll very likely go with a supervised antigen test with an accredited provider to be safe.

          • henry437 says:

            Yeh self administered LFT was acceptable this week for a friend returning to US

  • Harry Holden says:

    The world is going to become a two-tier class system of one set of rules for the vaccinated and another for those not vaccinated. This will have all kinds of people up in arms about “fairness” but the reality of the situation is that Covid will now be around forever, like colds and flu, and that some people will die each year as a result.

    In an attempt to begin a transition to a status quo, I applaud the US decision to say to the unvaccinated, “tough”.

    If you are unable to have a vaccine, I am sorry for that. But at the same time I do not think that the rest of the vaccinated world should be expected to weep and hold back on your behalf. If you have chosen not a vaccine, you pay your money and take your choice.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I’ll be shocked if this carries on for more than a year from now.

      • Bagoly says:

        I am not sure, but I think a smallpox vaccination was required to visit the USA from 19XX up to the 1970s? And Yellow Fever has been required somewhere, although I can’t remember whether going in to some African countries, or going to USA from those countries.

        • CH says:

          There are a number of African countries that require Yellow Fever vaccinations – Nigeria is one, iirc. And not too long ago I believe Brazil did as well.

        • Dayle says:

          Absolutely absurd you can relate small pox and yellow fever in the same bracket as a mild flu… sorry SARS Cov 2… at the current death rate, I’d be more worried about being in a car crash than being killed from it??

          • David says:

            Your one brain cell worked really hard on that, Dayle. Well done.

          • Jim Lovejoy says:

            I agree.
            When was the last time a small pox or yellow fever outbreak caused nearly 5 million deaths.

    • Bagoly says:

      I agree. I do feel for those who cannot be vaccinated, but taking foreign holidays is not a basic human right.

    • Economist-Nearby says:

      Why would the USA (or any country) want to let people who are too stupid to take the vaccine in? This is a good plan. The vaccinated can go on nice holidays, and the idiots can go to Great Yarmouth.

  • David says:

    Has a PCR test requirement been announced, as is stated above? The linked article just says “proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test”.

    • Rhys says:

      Why would the USA use antigen tests when they’ve barely used them stateside at all? My US friends barely know what a lateral flow test looks like!

      • Sam G says:

        They are allowed for entry though currently- eMed BinaxNOW etc . So I think they’ll be OK as long as they are supervised

      • TGLoyalty says:

        You need a pre departure test now and it can be a lateral flow.

      • Will in SFO says:

        Correct. We live in the States it is virtually impossible to get anything other than PCR tests here.

      • A says:

        They currently do accept a rapid viral antigen test….. I took it at expresstest T3 travelling home last week and got the results with 35 mins. Significantly less hassle and expense than a PCR.

      • Bob says:

        They literally accept them now, and have done for months for travelers to the US!

      • Guy Incognito says:

        I fly to the US on a NIE on Tuesday – testing requirement is an antigen test done within 3 days of departure.

  • pat says:

    I’ve literally just got off the phone with BA now. The wait times are horrendous!

    I saw some additional reward seats open up that weren’t available last week for my flights that around thanksgiving. I was able to upgrade both legs to CW using Avios.

    • HBommie says:

      Well done, it will be interesting to see Avios availability open up along with an increase in metal flying.

    • KP says:

      Im tracking avios availability to Washington to upgrade to CW from WTP. Around thanksgiving. Nothing so far but I shall keep checking

  • Anna says:

    Yay. Got F to BOS booked for March, inbound in CW on the day flight. Just hope BA doesn’t mess with the equipment or schedules now!

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