Travel to the United States during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

Table of Contents The basicsWhat’s on offerWho can goWhat are the restrictions?What’s the Covid situation?What can visitors expect?Useful linksOur recent coverage (CNN) — If you’re planning to travel to the United States, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic. The […]

(CNN) — If you’re planning to travel to the United States, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

After restrictive border closures throughout the pandemic, the USA will reopen to fully vaccinated visitors on November 8.

What’s on offer

Nowhere says size matters like the United States. This behemoth destination truly has everything — awe-inspiring landscapes, world-renowned city breaks, culture, food and some of the world’s best road trips.

Who can go

From November 8, the US will open to all fully vaccinated visitors, although different rules apply to those arriving via air versus land and sea. See below for details.

This means that unvaccinated visitors from countries not affected by US travel bans will no longer be allowed in.

Travelers crossing US land borders with Mexico and Canada for essential reasons will still be allowed for a short time. But from January 2022, the restrictions will get even tighter — even essential foreign travelers from Mexico and Canada must be vaccinated.

What are the restrictions?

Travelers from any country may enter the US from November 8, as long as they are fully vaccinated — which is counted as 14 days after their final dose.

The vaccine must either be FDA-approved or must have an Emergency Use Listing from the WHO, such as Astrazeneca. Mixed dose vaccinations will also be accepted.

Fully vaccinated air travelers must present a negative test taken within three days of departure for the US, and airlines must collect contact information.

Unvaccinated Americans may also enter, but the rules are slightly more stringent. They must provide a negative test taken within a day of travel. Quarantining for seven days and taking a second test three to five days after arrival is recommended.

American citizens and permanent residents do not need to show proof of vaccination if entering via land or ferry. Covid tests are not required, either. Foreigners, however, must attest to being vaccinated and be prepared to show proof.

Children under 18 are exempt from the vaccination requirement, but if arriving by air, all those over the age of two must also take a test before departure. Those traveling with vaccinated adults must test within three days of departure. Those traveling with unvaccinated adults or alone must test within a day of departure.

What’s the Covid situation?

As of November 4, there have been 46.2 million infections and 750,000 deaths in the US. Just over 58% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

What can visitors expect?

Regulations vary by state, so check the rules for your destination before travel. There are mask mandates — to varying degrees of severity — in DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Puerto Rico and Washington. In New York, restaurants, movie theaters and Broadway theaters, among other venues, are only open to patrons who have received at least one dose of vaccine (and under-12s).

Useful links

Our recent coverage

Top image: The South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. (Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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