The U.S. will reopen its borders to vaccinated passengers from the U.K., the European Union and several other countries from November.
The White House announced the changes on Monday, bringing to an end a gruelling 18-month COVID-19 travel ban that was first imposed by President Donald Trump in March 2020 at the onset of the pandemic.
From November, fully vaccinated international travellers will be allowed to fly into the U.S. and are willing to undergo testing and contact tracing.
Currently, only U.S. citizens and their immediate families, green card holders and travelers with special exemptions can travel Stateside if they’ve been in the U.K. or European Union in the 14 days before travel.
“This is based on individuals rather than a country-based approach, so it’s a stronger system,” White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said on Monday, while announcing the move.
What remains unclear is which vaccines will be approved for U.S. entry. Zients said that the decision would be taken by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I am delighted that from November, @POTUS is reinstating transatlantic travel so fully vaccinated U.K. nationals can visit the USA,” tweeted U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“It’s a fantastic boost for business and trade, and great that family and friends on both sides of the pond can be reunited once again.”
I am delighted that from November, @POTUS is reinstating transatlantic travel so fully vaccinated UK nationals can visit the USA.
It’s a fantastic boost for business and trade, and great that family and friends on both sides of the pond can be reunited once again.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) September 20, 2021
“We are grateful the U.S. has recognised the progress the U.K. has made against Covid-19, including high vaccination rates and declining cases,” said Karen Pierce, Britain’s ambassador in the U.S., according to the BBC. “This decision means that more Brits can reunite with loved ones in the United States, more British holidaymakers can spend their hard-earned pounds in the American tourism sector, and more business activity can boost both of our economies.”
The easing of U.S. travel restrictions will be a hugely welcome development for the European industry, which has struggled to send talent Stateside for fall festivals and awards ceremonies, among other industry business.
The U.K. relaxed its stringent quarantine restrictions for the U.S. and the European Union back in July. Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government also scrapped the so-called “traffic light” system that was operating for international travel into England, and from Oct. 4, there will be only a single red list and “simplified measures for the rest of the world.”