When will the US open its borders to UK travellers? Date travel ban will lift, and entry rules for UK visitors

UK residents have been banned from entering the US for 18 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic

(Photos: Getty Images)

The US has lifted its travel ban, which prevented most UK residents from entering the country throughout the Covid pandemic.

Since March 2020, only US citizens, their immediate families, green card holders and people with national interest exemptions have been able to travel to the US if they had been in the UK or EU in the previous 14 days.

Sign up to our Travel Guide newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But soon, fully vaccinated passengers from the UK and the EU will be able to enter the US, ending the travel ban implemented by former US president, Donald Trump.

So when can UK citizens travel to the US, and what are the entry requirements? This is what you need to know.

When will US borders reopen to UK residents?

Fully vaccinated UK travellers will be able to travel to the US from November 2021, however an exact date has not been confirmed.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “delighted” that US President Joe Biden is “reinstating transatlantic travel”.

He added: “It’s a fantastic boost for business and trade, and great that family and friends on both sides of the pond can be reunited once again.”

The lifting of the ban has been welcomed by airlines and airports, which have blamed the travel ban for limiting the recovery of passenger numbers during the virus crisis.

Shai Weiss, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, said the easing of restrictions is “a major milestone to the reopening of travel at scale, allowing consumers and businesses to book travel to the US with confidence”.

Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye said: “Connectivity between the US and the UK is part of the bedrock of the global economy.

“The Prime Minister has secured a massive win for global Britain in getting these links restarted.”

Around 3.8 million British nationals visited the US every year prior to the pandemic, according to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

What are the entry requirements for UK visitors?

UK travellers, and all other foreign visitors will need to demonstrate proof of vaccination to enter the US, as well as proof of a negative Covid test taken within three days of arrival.

Airlines will be required to collect contact information from international travellers so that they can be traced if required.

What are current rules under the travel ban?

Most UK residents are still currently unable to enter the US, including anyone who has been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen Zone, Iran, Brazil, China, South Africa or India within the previous 14 days.

People arriving from outside of the listed areas will need to obtain a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver to enter or transit the USA as a visitor.

The UK Government explains that “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” from the travel ban and are still permitted entry to the US, subject to normal entry requirements.

What are the rules for people returning to England from the US?

The US is currently on the UK’s amber list, however once the new travel rules are implemented on 4 October, the US will be on the ‘rest of world’ list, meaning fully vaccinated people can visit the US without having to quarantine on their return.

From that date, people who are fully vaccinated will no longer need a pre-departure test before returning from the US or any other ‘rest of world’ countries, as part of the updated travel rules.

The government has also promised to remove the requirement for day-two PCR tests on arrival in England from later in October, replacing them with lateral flow tests.

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.