Latest News: US land borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least 21 June 2021 (Reuters, 20.05.2021).Hawaiian residents no longer required to complete COVID-19 testing, quarantine when flying between islands (ABC, 12.05.2021). New York State will begin major reopening on 19 May; Connecticut and New Jersey will follow suit (Fox 5 News, 03.05.2021 ).
*Entry to USA: Since 16 March 2020, it is not possible for most British nationals to enter the USA if they have been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran, Brazil, or China within the previous 14 days. On 30 January 2021, South Africa was added. Those arriving from outside these areas will need to get a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver to enter or transit the USA as a visitor. You should consult the US State Department website to determine which you will need.
US citizens and permanent residents of the USA, certain specified close family members and certain other limited categories of visas holders (such as UN staff and diplomats) are exempt. They will still be able to enter the USA, subject to normal entry requirements. Further details are on the US Embassy Website.
Since 26 January 2021, all passengers aged 2 and above arriving by air into the USA from any foreign country are prevented from entry unless they have either a negative pre-departure test result (NAAT or antigen), or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 provided by a licensed health care provider or public health official. It is recommended that you quarantine for at least 7 days after arriving in the USA, and to take a COVID-19 test (NAAT or antigen) 3-5 days after arrival. You can find the full announcement on the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention website.
On 21 January 2021 President Biden signed an Executive Order requiring masks to be worn on aircraft, trains, buses and at airports.
Entry for Green Card and Current Visa Holders. New and renewed Green Cards (a Permanent Resident Card) are not currently being issued. However, existing Green Cards remain valid, although individuals who have been away from the USA for a substantial period of time should check their validity with their nearest US Embassy or Consulate before traveling. Further details are on the US Citizens and Immigration Services website.
Those with existing visas remain valid as long as the holders are in the USA. All current visa holders based in the USA wishing to travel to the UK or any other country covered by the Presidential Proclamation are strongly advised to check before they travel as to whether they would need an exception to re-enter the USA. The US authorities only consider applications for these once you have left the USA, so applying before travel is not possible.
Students travelling from the UK (and the Schengen Area and Ireland) with valid F-1 and M-1 visas, do not need to seek a national interest exception to travel.
New Visas and Humanitarian Exceptions. The US authorities are only providing emergency and mission-critical visa services at present and visa appointments remain limited. Due to the impact of COVID-19, their visa services and travel restrictions may change rapidly. If you have an urgent need to travel, you can contact the US Embassy to ascertain if you might qualify for an economic interest, humanitarian, or other exception. However, the criteria for these exceptions are very strict and you should be ready to provide as much information as possible to support your application if you apply for one.
Further information is available on the US Embassy’s website.
*Quarantine requirements: The Center for Disease Control (CDC) requires all arrivals by air into the US to quarantine for at least 7 days, and to take a COVID-19 test (NAAT or antigen) 3-5 days after arrival. If you are travelling domestically within the US, individual states and territories have their own quarantine requirements. A full list of local quarantine requirements is available on the CDC website. You should check the list frequently as it is likely to change, sometimes daily, as rates of COVID-19 transmission increase or decrease.
*Transiting USA: You cannot enter or transit the USA if you have been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran, Brazil, China, or South Africa within the previous 14 days. For further information, please check the advice from US Customs and Border Protection website. Those transiting to the USA from outside these areas will need to get a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver. You should consult the US State Department website to determine which you will need. US citizens and permanent residents of the USA, certain specified close family members and certain other limited categories of visa holders (such as UN staff and diplomats) are exempt. They will still be able to enter the USA, subject to normal entry requirements.
As of 26 January 2021, all passengers transiting the USA by air will need to show either a negative pre-departure test result (NAAT or antigen), or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 provided by a licensed health care provider or public health official.
For further information please refer to the US Government’s travel page.
*Travel in USA: Many airports in the USA have implemented safety measures designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. You should check the website of the airport you are flying into or transiting to see how these could affect you. Some states have rules in place requiring travellers from other states, with high rates of COVID-19, to quarantine for 14 days or to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Before travelling you should check the websites of the relevant state governments. Further information can be found on theCDC website . A number of US states have mandated the use of masks and face coverings while in public. These will vary from state to state. You should consult the website of the state to which you are travelling. Contact details are found on the US.GOV site . Further restrictions will vary locally with some states relaxing lockdown procedures while others are pausing or reversing their re-openings. Penalties for breaches of regulations will vary between each state and may sometimes vary in different areas in the same state.
*Accommodation: Hotels are re-opening across the USA but will be operating at capacities dictated by local rules and regulations.
*Public places and services: Local regulations on shops, restaurants, bars, beaches and other leisure activities will likely be following measures designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. You should be aware that public places likely to attract large crowds may be closed at short notice. You should follow local media and any guidance issued by local authorities.