In a long overdue move, the Biden Administration is set to announce today that travelers from the European Union and United Kingdom will once again be allowed to travel directly to the United States starting in November.
Biden Administration Will Relax European, British Travel Restrictions
For 18 months, British and Europeans travelers have been shut out of the United States unless they traveled indirectly, had immediate family in the United States, or were granted a national interest exception. That has not only kept tourists out, but kept many families separated and employment positions unfilled.
President Trump lifted these restrictions as he was leaving office, but the Biden Administration immediately reversed course and closed off borders, which have remained closed for over 18 months.
Ahead of world leaders gathering at the United Nations in New York this week, the Biden Administration shared details about its plan to re-open U.S. borders. As noted by White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients:
- The reopening will in “early” November 1, 2021
- Borders will reopen to fully vaccinated British and Europeans
- The CDC has not determined whether AstraZeneca vaccines, which are not approved yet in the United States, will be eligible
- No quarantine will be required
- A change in the risk assessment paradigm may mean travelers from Brazil, China, and India will also be welcomed back to the USA
Questions remain over children. Will children be blocked or need vaccine passports?
But airlines are exuberant about this news, with shares of British Airways rising more than 10% since the news leaked an hour ago. BA’s business model is highly reliant upon transatlantic travel and the lifting of the travel ban could great mitigate traditionally lower demand for travel during the winter schedule.
A United spokesperson told Live and Let’s Fly:
The Administration’s decision to safely expand international travel to the United States is welcome news for our customers and United is ready to implement these new requirements…
We support this decision and look forward to working closely with the administration as the details of this policy are further solidified.
The White House plans a press conference later today to share more details about the news. We will be watching closely and update this post with more details as they become available.
But at long last, it appears a nonsensical, inhumane, unscientific, irrational policy is coming to an end. That is cause for celebration on both sides of the Atlantic.
image: White House
Nothing is coming to an end as long as the deranged testing requirement is in place for vaccinated travelers.
I am also in favor of ending that requirement, but this is a move in the right direction.
While I tend to agree, obtaining an antigen test either in Europe or Mexico is extremely easy. I assume it is in other countries as well. There is also the option to do it yourself with the eMed test platform. It’s really not that much of a bother…
I’m delighted the US administration has announced this today in advance of the meeting of Biden and the UK’s embarrassment Bunter Johnson who was going to talk about it with Biden and was certain the US would reopen because he wanted it.
Nothing like a pre-emptive strike on a blustering liar – said by an embarrassed UK citizen.
Birds of a feather. Biden’s been lying about, well, everything for nearly fifty years.
From lying about his own academic record, lying to Black groups he was arrested in South Africa while visiting Nelson Mandela, lying about the death of his first wife and child and lying about his record on Civil Rights (He proudly voted, on the Senate floor, on record and alongside racists and segregationists to keep Blacks segregated from whites- Based solely on the color of a Black man’s skin- It never ends.
Let’s hope this move will push Asian nations to finally open their borders especially Japan and Malaysia… umless they want to remain sidelined
Asia and Oceania is living in an alternate timeline. While the western world is talking vaccinated exemptions and maybe antigen tests, the east is still talking antiquated terms like “four phase reopening”, “travel bubbles” and “lockdowns.”
Maybe they’ll gear up for a big spring/summer 2022 reopen.
Indeed. Fully agree with your points. This move to relax entry to the US can definitely help single out the lunacy of the SE and Ociania leaders and their persistence in living in 2020
One problem is that for those who have residents but not citizenship in a visa waiver country, there are literally no embassy appointments available anywhere in the EU until mid-2022, and even those are literally in the single digits. They are claiming that due to covid, they are not handling routine visa applications at all, and in fact have cancelled all existing appointments through the end of this year and into next.
If they do not include Astra Zeneca as approved to travel to the US it is almost the same as not allowing anyone. Most of Europe has gotten Astra Zeneca.
It is indeed a key detail that must be worked out.
Wrong. Most of Europe is using Pfizer. Only UK is 90% reliant on Astra Zeneca
Not so, even Angela Merkel had the Astra Zeneca vaccine. It’s widely used in many countries in Europe.
The CDC has always maintained that its travel guidance applies to people vaccinated with FDA approved vaccines as well as WHO approved ones, specifically citing AstraZeneca as an example. No reason to assume this would be any different.
“This guidance applies to COVID-19 vaccines currently approved or authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson [J&J]/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines) and some vaccines used for U.S. participants in COVID-19 vaccine trials (such as Novavax). This guidance can also be applied to COVID-19 vaccines that have been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (such as AstraZeneca/Oxford). ”
Hopefully. Zients was a little sketchy in the press conference today.
Well, the CDC can either change its guidance or the administration can choose to diverge from the CDC guidance. Neither is unprecedented, but either would come across as overtly political if they did.
The political issue is less AstraZeneca than the Chinese vaccines that have emergency approval from the WHO. A savvy opposition politician can make a mountain out of that molehill.
It is a step in the right direction, but this needs to be reciprocal. The EU also needs to drop the quarantine for vaccinated travelers. As long as all I need to travel to the EU is to be vaccinated and pass the COVID test – no quarantine – then I would be willing to book some personal flights, and I suspect business meetings (which are usually just for a couple of days) would start to come on line as well.
Eh? Most Major EU destinations do not require quarantine for vaxxed travelers… Netherlands in particular introduced it, then seemed to walk it back 2 weeks later.
EU? Maybe some countries in the US but definitely not the EU. I have family and friends that have visited Spain, Greece, Italy and all they needed was a proof of vaccination and Negative Covid test. No quarantine at all.
@Arthur: That was only for NL and they already dropped it after only a week.
It hardly makes epidemiological sense to ban travelers now unless you’re banning ALL travelers including citizens: testing, vaccination, and quarantine if we’re being absolutely cautious has to be sufficient now
British and Europeans? Are we British not European?
Even when you were part of EU, I considered you more “Atlantic” than European.
Do you consider yourself European?
Yes, I do. And FWIW I always considered you more “Victorian” than American. 🙂
LOL. In many ways, that is correct.
Would a “Victorian” use “LOL?”
This is very interesting. It remains to be seen if Asia is going to actually make any changes. You can’t keep ignoring border closures forever people need to be United with their families for the holidays. That’s so much lost revenues from business and holiday travel Asia! Also if China is thinking about hosting the Olympics will they allow at least some flights in China by February?
Here’s Billy Bob again to remind you that it will be 2026 at least before we can talk about anything other than COVID this and COVID that.
2026. Go hibernate somewhere. Events closed. Tests. “Papers, please.” New variants. Masks required. Shifting-sands regulations. Etc. Etc. Etc… Travel will suck until these things are gone, and these things won’t be gone until 2026 at the earliest…
Hello Mathew. I plan on traveling from europe to the US on November 1 (not an american citizen). Is it confirmed that travel will be allowed on the first? Thank you
No, November 1st is not yet confirmed. We are awaiting more details.
Just a word of caution before we pop the Champagne corks…. Just because you are vaccinated does NOT mean that you cannot have COVID! And if you have COVID you can SPREAD it!
The vaccines are NOT 100% effective – at best, on average, 90%. That means that if 100 vaccinated people are EXPOSED to significant COVID sources, there is the probability that TEN of them will get COVID. If I am on an aircraft with hundreds of other passengers, I would prefer that not only should all of them be vaccinated, but those vaccinated people who HAVE got COVID are not on board….
Until the spread of COVID is dramatically reduced, we CANNOT afford to relax the testing..
Please look up what vaccine efficacy rates actually mean. I assume you consider yourself a “follower of science.” You are very badly mistaken.
Laughingly massive disconnect between an anti-vaxxer and a claim of “following the science”
Keep outrunning Delta!
Never have I seen any counter-evidence provided by you for all the statements I make. Note that I was pointing out the error of someone I presume is an anti-vaxxer (which I am not). I am vaccine- and COVID-free in Amalfi at the moment. I saw plenty of Americans swimming at the Hotel Santa Caterina’s beach club. How is the awesome London work trip coming along? Or your dream jaunt to Milan and Como? Will jumping on boxes and working from home have to suffice for OPM tough guys like UA-CCP?