If you are planning to visit the United States, here is what you need to expect and know if you want to travel there during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

What is the current COVID situation in the US?

Since the COVID pandemic started in February 2020, there have been more than 83 million cases of COVID in the US and over 1 million deaths (as of May 25th). 

There have been about 585 million doses of vaccine administered across the US, which translates to about 176 doses per hundred people.

Source: Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering

Basic information

The United States reopened its borders to fully vaccinated travellers on November 8th 2021, after many nation-specific closures throughout the COVID pandemic. 

What’s the latest?

A judge struck off the federal mask mandate covering public transportation in April.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone aged two and over wears a mask on public transport – however, there is no actual requirement for you to do so.

Who can travel to the US?

There are no COVID-related travel bans in place against any specific countries.

However, visitors aged 18 and over who are not US citizens, US nationals, green card holders or lawfully permitted residents must be fully vaccinated to enter. Some exceptions to this rule include persons on diplomatic or official foreign government travel. 

There are no restrictions on domestic travel within the United States, but the CDC recommends that all domestic travellers test for COVID-19 as closely as possible to their departure. 

What are the travel rules for the USA?

Travellers to the USA must have received their second dose of the vaccine at least 14 days before arrival to be considered fully vaccinated (on one dose if the vaccine is single-dose).

Boosters are not required to be fully vaccinated from May 20th 2022.

The vaccine must have been approved by the US Federal Drug Administration or have an emergency use listing from the World Health Organisation. The US government will accept mixed dose vaccinations.

All travellers arriving in the US by air from a foreign country must show a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken no more than one day before travel or present documentation that proves they have recovered from COVID in the 90 days before they boarded the flight. 

There are NO exceptions to the testing requirement for US citizens or fully vaccinated travellers. 

The proof of vaccination rules also apply to ferry and land arrivals and air travel and have done so since January 22nd 2022. 

However, the proof of vaccination rules does not apply to US Citizens, US Nationals or lawful permanent residents of the US.

What are the COVID rules while you are in the US?

The good news is that the US is now almost entirely open for visitors across places such as entertainment venues, theme parts, restaurants, etc. 

However, you must check the rules of your particular destination in the USA before you travel, as each state may have different. 

For example:

  • Hawaii – Both Hawaii’s safe travels programme and its statewide mask mandate for indoor settings expired on March 25th 2022
  • Las Vegas – The state of Nevada lifted its statewide mask mandate on February 10th 2022
  • New York City – Proof of vaccination is no longer required for visitors to entertainment, fitness or indoor dining venues
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