The day is almost here! On November 8th, the US will open its border to fully vaccinated travelers around the globe, ending 20 months of travel restrictions. The news means the end of the US’ prolonged border closure and brings it in line with other major markets globally. Here’s what you need to know.
Time to fly
From 12:01 AM ET, the United States border is officially open to all air travelers once again. Nearly 21 months since the first travel ban was first imposed in January 2020, hundreds of thousands of friends and family have been eagerly waiting to visit the country again. Now, the day is finally here.
There is one new strict requirement for passengers: they must be fully vaccinated with an FDA/WHO approved COVID-19 vaccine. The US has all but banned unvaccinated foreigners from the country, while citizens and residents will see stricter rules to prevent imported cases.
While most European countries opened their borders to Americans over the summer, the US was slower to reciprocate. Only after a surprise announcement in October did it confirm that non-essential travel could resume from the EU, India, Brazil, China, and Iran. Travelers from other countries were free to travel to the US as normal through the pandemic.
The new rules
As thousands book their flights, here’s a look at what you will need for your next trip, assuming you are fully vaccinated:
- A negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure (all travelers over two years)
- Proof of vaccination from the recognized local authority (for travelers over 18 years)
- All documentation needed to enter the US as before COVID (visas, etc.)
Children under 18 are exempt from the testing rule, provided they travel with a vaccinated adult. If traveling alone or with an unvaccinated adult, under-18s must bring a negative test within one day of flying to fly. Meanwhile, unvaccinated US citizens and residents can still travel without a vaccine but must self-quarantine on arrival, take a test within 3-5 days of landing, and provide a negative test a day before flying.
Airlines more than ready
After months of pushing the US government, airlines have got their Christmas gifts early. Within days of the announcement, major airlines globally began announcing beefed-up scheduled to the US from November 8th onwards. In particular, hub carriers and European airlines rely heavily on North American traffic for revenue.
Virgin Atlantic, Air India, British Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa, to name a few, have all announced that they will up frequencies as bookings jump. As one of the last major markets still closed (outside East Asia) and a highly-profitable one, airlines are looking at the US to finally swing toward a profit and put the worst of the pandemic behind. If preliminary numbers are any indicator, this might just be true.
What do you think about the US’ new travel rules? Let us know in the comments!