US to ease travel restrictions on fully vaccinated visitors from UK and European Union

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After an eighteen-month ban, the White House announced on Monday that it will authorise, from the beginning of November, the entry into the United States of vaccinated travellers from the European Union and the United Kingdom. The relaxation of the “travel ban” has been awaited for months by the travel industry.

Europeans will once again be able to travel across the Atlantic. The White House announced on Monday a new health policy for international travel, which will notably allow vaccinated Europeans to travel to the United States from “early November”, after eighteen months of “travel ban”.

Foreigners wishing to come to the United States will have to be fully vaccinated, undergo tests and agree to give their contact details for tracing cases of contamination. However, no quarantine will be imposed on arrival.

The measure has been awaited for months by the travel and tourism industry, and the file had become over the months a subject of diplomatic dispute between Washington, Brussels and London.

The “travel ban” from European countries was introduced in March 2020 by Donald Trump due to the pandemic, and renewed by Joe Biden upon his arrival at the White House. Until now, it prohibits any non-American traveller or permanent resident (green card) from entering the United States if they have stayed in the Schengen area or in the United Kingdom during the fourteen days preceding their arrival.

A measure which de facto prohibited the entry of tourists, and that of most foreigners working in the United States with a work visa. The latter, to go to Europe and return to the United States, often had the only solution to spend two weeks in a country not concerned by the “travel ban”, such as Mexico.

Europe, which had opened its borders to Americans in June, whether they were vaccinated or not, had hoped in vain for a measure of reciprocity. Brussels has repeatedly expressed its discontent, and finally decided after the tourist season to close its borders to the Americans.

The entry ban on the territory has always been justified by the White House by the desire to follow “science” and the recommendations of its health authorities. A speech that is all the less justified as the vaccination rate in the United States is now much lower than in the European Union.

Many European airlines have already expressed their satisfaction with the US decision and are preparing a revised winter schedule with improved connections to the US.