Your USA travel questions answered

With the USA’s recent announcement that travel restrictions on UK visitors are being lifted from November, and relaxed rules for when you return to the UK, soon we will be able to travel to the US for the first time since the pandemic hit. Here’s what you need to know…

When will the US be open to UK visitors?

Right now, the border is still closed to tourists travelling from the UK. However, it has been announced that by November, the US will once again open its doors to fully vaccinated Brits. An exact date has not yet been set.

What will I need to travel to the US?

To enter the States, you will need proof that you have been fully vaccinated and you will also need proof of a negative test no older than 72 hours. You will not have to quarantine on arrival.

Will all vaccines be accepted?

Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will all be accepted. There are some question marks around whether the AstraZeneca vaccine will be accepted as the US’ Food and Drug Administration has not approved the vaccine. Although it is thought that it will be likely those with the AstraZeneca jab will still be able to enter for travel, this is not yet confirmed.

What if my children aren’t vaccinated? Can they still come?

Children who are not yet eligible for a vaccination will be exempt from the rule and will still be able to enter the US.

Are there any lockdown rules in the US that I need to be aware of?

Covid rules will vary from state to state and can change quickly, so it is a good idea to check the individual website for the state you are visiting before you travel. Be sure you have masks with you as numerous states will require you to wear one in public places. You will also need to wear a mask on the plane and while on trains or busses in the country. Places including New York, California, Hawaii and New Orleans require proof of vaccination to enter certain venues such as restaurants bars and nightclubs so it is a good idea to carry a copy with you.

Will the land borders between the US, Canada and Mexico be open?

The land borders are still only open for essential travel there have been no plans announced as of yet to re-open them for tourism.

What will I need to come back to the UK?

From Monday 4 October, fully vaccinated travellers will not need a pre-departure test before arrival into England from a non-red list country (including the US). Later on in the month, the day two tests will be scrapped and replaced with cheaper lateral flow tests.

Where shall I go in the US?

If you are planning on visiting as soon as the ban is lifted, then the winter months are a great time to mix city exploration with winter adventure. Portland, for example, offers an array of cultural events in the city over the colder months including the Portland Winter Light Festival and PDX Jaxx Festival, while just outside the city you can reach the snow of the mountains. Head to Mt. Hood to snowshoe, ski and hike your way through the winter wonderland. Yosemite National Park is also a playground for snow lovers in winter, with dog sledding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing all on the cards.

Those looking for some winter sun should consider Florida. It isn’t called the Sunshine State for no reason, and with highs of 22°C in December, it’s a great time to explore the architecture, history and culture of the region. St Augustine, for example, is North America’s oldest continuously occupied European settlements, a history that can still be soaked up as you wander the cobbled streets of its Historic Downtown. Wildlife enthusiasts should head to Fort Myers to see the Manatees that come here from November through to March. More marine life and sunny climes can be enjoyed in Hawaii, as humpback whales head to the islands between December and May.

To find more travel ideas for all times of the year, be sure to check out our full USA travel guide.

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