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Updated 17 November 2021

After a long period of hiatus due to the raging pandemic, the US made another step toward reducing COVID-19 travel restrictions for vaccinated travellers and facilitating the resumption of tourism on November 8, 2021. Travelers around the world are now keen to find out if, when, and where they can travel abroad. Can anyone travel to the USA now?

New Travel Requirements

All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, are required to have either of the two before they board a flight to the United States-

  • negative COVID-19 result from a test taken not more than 3 days before the date of travel
  • documentation of recovery from COVID-19, i.e proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel
  • children under 2 years old are exempt from testing

Passengers must be tested with a viral test that could be either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT). Rapid tests are also acceptable as long as they are viral tests. This includes:

  • reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)
  • reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP)
  • transcription-mediated amplification (TMA)
  • nicking enzyme amplification reaction (NEAR)
  • helicase-dependent amplification (HDA)

The test used must be authorized for use by the relevant national authority for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the country where the test is administered.

The test result must be in the form of written documentation, either on printed paper or as an electronic copy.


Can unvaccinated Americans travel?

If there is a humanitarian or emergency cause, such as an emergency medical evacuation, the US government says it will allow unvaccinated overseas visitors to enter the country. Those exclusions will be applied “very sparingly” and require CDC clearance. A medical exemption with evidence from a doctor might also be made.

It will also make readmission more difficult for unvaccinated US citizens and permanent residents, as well as impose strict testing procedures for the few unvaccinated foreign people who are permitted to visit.

Unvaccinated Americans must present documentation of a negative COVID-19 test within one day of travelling internationally.


Who can travel to the USA?

Countries banned by the USA

The CDC page stated that foreign national who have spent the last 14 days in the following countries may not enter the United States:

  • China
  • India
  • Iran
  • Brazil
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom
  • Republic of Ireland
  • The European Schengen area: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City

Passengers who have been in the Democratic Republic of Congo or Guinea within the last 21 days will be permitted entry into the USA only through New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX) and Washington (IAD).

It is recommended to check the country-specific travel advisory before planning your trip to the States.

Mexico and Canada land borders

Foreign nationals coming by land from Mexico and Canada will be subject to new travel procedures.

Foreign nationals who are completely vaccinated can cross the land border for non-essential purposes such as tourism or visiting friends and relatives.

In early January, border restrictions will change again, requiring all passengers – including those coming for medical reasons – to produce confirmation of complete immunisation.


Do I need to quarantine if I travel to the USA?

As per CDC’s latest update, vaccinated travelers and returning Americans are not required to quarantine on coming to the USA. CDC also states “that every state is different, and that people are encouraged to look into their local state mandates and laws before travelling”.

Fully vaccinated passengers do not need to self-quarantine once they return to the United States, unless a state or local jurisdiction requires it, but they should continue to follow COVID19 precautions while travelling, such as wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, socially distancing themselves, and washing their hands frequently.

Passengers who have not been vaccinated are advised to stay at home and self-quarantine for a full week following their arrival. It is suggested that travellers who do not undergo a COVID19 test following foreign travel stay at home and self-quarantine for 10 days.

After travel information for people who have recently recovered

If you have recovered from a documented COVID-19 infection within the last 3 months, then:

  • You must follow the requirements and recommendations applicable to fully vaccinated travellers
  • However, you need not get tested 3-5 days after travel, unless symptomatic.

Some other states either require all out-of-state visitors to self-isolate for 14 days or present a negative test result, or do not have a strict quarantine mandate. For more information, please consult each state’s health department websites.
In conjunction with the nationwide regulations, state-imposed and local recommendations and rules must be followed.


Are there flights to the USA now?

Yes, flights to the United States are now easily available.

Most airports in the country are now operational, so you’ll be able to fly into the USA from any corner of the world.

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