Travel: PCR test scrap to save families '£200' says expert
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In March 2020, then-President Donal Trump shut the US borders, locking out Britons who did not have a legal reason to enter the country. However, the nation is set to reopen to UK arrivals travelling for leisure purposes in just over two weeks.
But, Britons who are hoping to visit the US will need to meet a strict set of entry requirements.
There will also be a number of Covid-related rules in place which must be followed.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) frequently updates its travel advice pages to keep UK nationals who are currently abroad or planning on travelling internationally in the know.
The travel authority made its most recent update regarding US travel information on October 15, 2021.
Here is the latest information Britons need to know about the US border reopening.
When does the US border reopen to leisure travellers from the UK?
The US Government announced on October 15, 2021, that it would be reopening its borders to fully vaccinated foreign nationals from November 8, 2021.
Arrivals from the UK are anticipated to be welcomed back at this time.
However, the FCDO advised: “British nationals planning to travel to the US from November 8, 2021, onwards may wish to wait for further information to be released by the US Government.”
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What are the entry requirements for UK arrivals?
The US Government has said that it will only allow double-jabbed people to enter the country.
According to the FCDO only foreign citizens “who are fully vaccinated with any COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use by the World Health Organisation or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)” will be permitted to enter the country.
Although rules may change, at the time of writing, arrivals into the US are also required to take a COVID-19 test.
The FCDO explains: “The CDC requires that all air passengers arriving to the US from a foreign country get a COVID test no more than three days before their flight departs and present a negative result or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months to the airline before boarding the flight.
“If you are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorised vaccine or a vaccine authorised for emergency use by the World Health Organisation, you should also get a viral test three to five days after travel.”
Unvaccinated foreign nationals will not be permitted to enter the US.
What vaccines are accepted by US officials?
The US administration is currently only accepting vaccines that have been approved by the FDA.
Currently, the US is vaccinating its population with Pfizer, Moderna, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, while the AstraZeneca vaccine remains under review.
However, it is thought that the US will accept passengers arriving from other countries who have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca, despite it not being FDA-approved.
A spokeswoman for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that it currently considers people to be fully vaccinated – and therefore able to travel to the US – if they have received any of the FDA-authorised vaccines or one approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
As AstraZeneca is approved by the WHO, it will be an acceptable vaccine for travel.
In a previous tweet, travel expert Simon Calder said: “To be absolutely clear: AstraZeneca jabs will be acceptable.
“They are recognised by the World Health Organization and the US accepts WHO-approved jabs for arriving travellers.”
What coronavirus restrictions are currently in place in the US?
On January 21, 2021, President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order requiring face masks to be worn on aircraft, trains buses and at airports.
A number of mask-related rules remain in place across the US, these vary depending on which state you are visiting.
The FCDO states: “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.”
There may also be rules for people travelling between states.
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.
The FCDO advises people to check the websites of the relevant state governments before travelling.
What are the rules for Britons returning from the US to the UK?
As the US is a non-red list country, fully vaccinated Britons and other “eligible” arrivals will not be required to self-isolate.
They will be required to pre-book and pay for a lateral flow test to be taken on day two of their arrival.
Should this result come back positive, arrivals must quarantine at home for 10 days and take a free NHS PCR test.
Unvaccinated arrivals from the US are required to take a pre-departure test, as well as pre-book and pay for PCR tests to be taken on days two and eight of their arrival.
All arrivals into the UK must complete a Passenger Locator Form.
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