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US holidays: Latest FCDO update as some travel rules relax but most Britons still banned


The US Government shut borders to most travellers amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In recent months, though, the nation has sped through its vaccination roll-out.

In its latest update, the FCDO provided “new information and advice under ‘Entry for Green Card and Current Visa Holders’ and ‘New Visas and Humanitarian Exceptions’.”

It explained: “Since 16 March 2020, it is not possible for most British nationals to enter the USA if they have been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran, Brazil, or China within the previous 14 days.

“On 30 January 2021, South Africa was added. Those arriving from outside these areas will need to get a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver to enter or transit the USA as a visitor.

“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.

“They will still be able to enter the USA, subject to normal entry requirements.”

It continued: “New and renewed Green Cards (a Permanent Resident Card) are not currently being issued. However, existing Green Cards remain valid, although individuals who have been away from the USA for a substantial period of time should check their validity with their nearest US Embassy or Consulate before travelling.

“Those with existing visas remain valid as long as the holders are in the USA. All current visa holders based in the USA wishing to travel to the UK or any other country covered by the Presidential Proclamation are strongly advised to check before they travel as to whether they would need an exception to re-enter the USA.”

Students travelling from the UK and Ireland with valid visas are allowed to travel without “a national interest exception”.

New visas and humanitarian exception visas are only being provided in “emergency and mission-critical” situations.

The FCDO adds: “The Center for Disease Control (CDC) requires all arrivals by air into the US to quarantine for at least 7 days, and to take a COVID-19 test (NAAT or antigen) three to five days after arrival.”

Travellers who have been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran, Brazil, China and South Africa within the previous 14 days are not allowed to enter the US for the purposes of transiting to another country.

COVID-19 restrictions remain in place across the US, though these vary from state to state.

Travellers from the UK currently in the US are advised to follow the advice of local authorities.


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