Officials in the United States have confirmed that Covid-19-related travel restrictions will be lifted for travellers from the European Union, United Kingdom and elsewhere from November.
From November, foreign travellers will be allowed to fly into the US if they are fully vaccinated, and undergo testing and contact tracing.
The destination has had tough restrictions on travel in place since early last year and the outbreak of the pandemic.
White House Covid-19 coordinator, Jeff Zients, announced the new rules and said: “This is based on individuals rather than a country-based approach, so it is a stronger system.
“Most importantly, foreign nationals flying to the US will be required to be fully vaccinated.”
US restrictions were initially imposed on travellers from China in early 2020 and then extended to other countries.
The current rules bar entry to most non-US citizens who have been in the UK and a number of other European countries, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil within the last 14 days.
Under the new rules, foreign travellers will need to demonstrate proof of vaccination before flying, obtain a negative Covid-19 test result within three days of travelling, and provide their contact information.
No quarantine will be required for them.
Officials said there would be some exceptions to the new policy, including for children who are not eligible to be vaccinated.
Americans who are not fully vaccinated will still be able to enter, but they will need to be tested before their return to the US, and after they arrive home.
Zients said the policy would come into effect in early November, but did not give an exact date.
The new rules do not apply to land borders, meaning that restrictions continue to apply to cross-border travel with Canada and Mexico.
Julia Simpson, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) chief executive, welcomed the news.
She said: “The prospect of the US lifting travel restrictions to restore transatlantic travel between the UK and US is welcome news – not just for hard-pressed airlines but for the wider tourism sector, which has been decimated by Covid-19.
“It will finally enable families to reunite, business travellers to resume face-to-face meetings and for tourism to return for Brits looking to travel to America.”
According to WTTC figures, the UK alone represents eight of all inbound travel to the US, accounting for US$40 million per day to the economy.
Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor, added: “More travel opening up as a result of easing restrictions, both across the UK and abroad, will be welcome news for both travellers and the industry alike.
“However, it’s important to remember that while the pandemic is ongoing, no travel is risk-free and restrictions are liable to change, sometimes at short notice, potentially putting your money at risk.
“Anyone looking to book travel to the US once restrictions are lifted should still book with a provider with a reliable flexible booking policy, or if appropriate, a package holiday as these come with stronger financial protections.
“A good travel insurance policy will continue to be essential, and it’s also advisable to book with a credit card to give yourself further protection.”
Finally, an ABTA spokesperson said Christmas in New York was back on.
A statement explained: “The news that double vaccinated travellers will be allowed to travel to the US from the UK from November is great news for holidaymakers, business travellers and those who have been separated from friends and family for so long.
“The USA is by far our most popular long-haul destination and in a normal year attracts almost five million visitors from the UK.
“The announcement will come in time to allow people to, among other things, take the ever-popular Christmas shopping trips to New York and is a very welcome boost for the winter sports market whose customers love the high-quality ski resorts.”
Source: Breaking Travel News