When will US borders open to the UK? Will US lift travel ban from UK, corridor update – restrictions explained

UK residents have been banned from entering the US for over a year

On Monday, 19 July, the US placed the UK on the highest level of the United States travel guidance, which is “Level 4: Very High”.

The guidance states: “Because of the current situation in the United Kingdom, even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk for getting and spreading Covid-19 variants.”

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The update was issued on the same day that Prime Minister Boris Johnson lifted virtually all Covid-19 restrictions in England, including social distancing requirements and the legal obligation to wear face coverings.

The UK has been placed in the 'Level 4: Very High' US travel warning category (Photo: Angela Weiss/Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
The UK has been placed in the 'Level 4: Very High' US travel warning category (Photo: Angela Weiss/Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

This is everything you need to know.

When will US borders reopen to UK residents?

As it stands, most UK travellers are banned from entering the US, a rule that has been in place since March 2020.

The then President, Donald Trump, signed a presidential proclamation which placed an indefinite ban on those from the UK and Ireland from entering the US, a decision that can only be reversed by the sitting President, who is now Joe Biden.

Speaking at a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday (15 July), Biden said that an end date to the travel ban could be revealed “within days”.

He said that discussions regarding the travel restrictions for Europe were “in process now”, and added that he expects to make an announcement “within the next several days what is likely to happen”.

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Who from the UK can currently enter the US?

Most UK residents are unable to enter the US - this includes anyone who has been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen Zone, Iran, Brazil, China, South Africa or Indian 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 did Lisa Nandy say?

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said the decision from the US was a “direct consequence of the Tories’ failure to get a grip on this virus”.

“Instead of their promised ‘freedom day’, the Conservatives’ shambolic handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has left us with some of the highest new case rates anywhere in the world and forced other countries to take steps to restrict travel to the UK,” the Labour MP said.

“Despite a worrying rise in infections and hospitalisations, the Government is blindly pushing ahead with removing all restrictions.”

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

The USA is currently on England’s Amber list.

The rules for entering England from an Amber list country vary slightly depending on whether or not you’re fully vaccinated.

Full vaccinated passengers, prior to travelling to England, must:

- Take a Covid-19 test - children aged 10 and under do not need to take this test

- Book and pay for a day two Covid-19 test, to be taken after arrival in England

- Complete a passenger locator form

Those that aren’t yet fully vaccinated need to follow the same steps, but they will have to book and pay for day two and day eight Covid-19 tests to be taken after arrival in England.

Fully vaccinated passengers will need to declare that they have been fully UK vaccinated on their passenger locator form, or state if they are taking part/have taken part in a formally approved UK Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial for Covid-19 vaccine, or you are under 18 and a resident in the UK.

They will also need to show proof of vaccination status to their carrier (ferry, airline or train) when travelling.

Upon arrival in England, fully vaccinated people must take their Covid-19 PCR test on or before day two after they arrive. Children aged four and under do not need to take this test.

You do not need to quarantine unless the day two test result is positive.

You must quarantine at home or in the place you are staying if NHS Test and Trace informs you that you travelled to England or otherwise come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

For those who are not yet fully vaccinated, on arrival in England you must quarantine at home, or in the place you are staying, for 10 days.

You must also take a Covid-19 test on or before day two and on or after day eight.

Children aged 4 and under do not need to take the day 2 or day 8 test but must still quarantine at their home or in the place that they are staying.