Vaccinated Brits will be able to travel to the US from November, the US Government has confirmed.
The White House is also set to lift the 18-month entry ban for arrivals from the EU and several other countries as part of a shakeup of its international travel policy.
The move was confirmed in a tweet by UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. However, it isn’t clear if the US will allow entry to unvaccinated children and Brits who’ve been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jab, which isn’t yet authorised for use in the US.
The Biden administration said it will defer to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding a decision on whether to allow entry to millions of Brits who’ve received the AZ vaccine. White House medical chief Dr Anthony Fauci said this morning, however, that he saw no reason why AZ will not be accepted.
Travellers will also be required to take a PCR test prior to travelling to the US.
Further details are expected to be announced soon.
Currently, only US citizens, close relatives and those with urgent business or another exemption are allowed to travel to America if they’ve been in the UK or the EU at any time in the previous 14 days.
This is despite the fact that the US is on the UK’s amber travel list, so fully vaccinated Americans are not subject to any mandatory quarantine on arrival in the UK.
Some British holidaymakers have been trying to get round the US ban by spending two weeks in other countries, such as Mexico or islands in the Caribbean, before travelling to the US.
An ABTA spokesperson said: “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 US 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 country’s high quality ski resorts.”
Joanne Dooey, President of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association said: “America is one of the most significant markets for Scottish travel agents, so news that double vaccinated Scots will soon be able to travel to the USA once again for business, visiting friends and family and for holidays is a huge boost.
“More than 1.4 million travellers to Orlando each year are from Britain and, along with Florida, New York and Las Vegas are key destinations from Scotland. Pre pandemic, there were around six flights daily from Glasgow and Edinburgh direct to the States, so the importance of this move for the whole Scottish travel sector and the 26,000 jobs it sustains, can’t be under estimated.
“Of course, we await the finer details of which vaccinations will be accepted and will qualify for entry and also the confirmation that this will apply to Scotland, but this is certainly a very important change to travel rules. This could also be the saviour for inbound travel to Scotland and the high spending American visitors it brings.”
On hearing the news, American Express Global Business Travel’s Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Crawley said: “After more than 550 days of shut borders, we are thrilled that the US will finally be reopening to fully vaccinated travellers from the UK and EU. There is huge pent-up demand for transatlantic travel among our customers and we fully expect to see a sustained spike in bookings. It is a positive step forward for global economic recovery and we await further details from the White House.”
Julia Simpson, World Travel and Tourism Council President & CEO, said: “The prospect of the U.S. lifting travel restrictions to restore transatlantic travel between the U.K. and U.S is welcome news – not just for hard-pressed airlines but for the wider travel & 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 Travel & Tourism to return for Brits looking to travel to America.
“The UK alone represents 8% of all inbound travel to the US, accounting for US$ 40 million per day to the nation’s economy.
“WTTC has long-been calling for the U.S. to reopen and our research shows that by opening its borders to key markets such as the UK, it will pump US$198 million back into the US economy every single day.
“WTTC strongly advocates for fully vaccinated travellers to be able to travel freely and safely, and for unvaccinated travellers to be able to do so with testing, alongside enhanced health and safety protocols.”