The move comes as British Minister Boris Johnson was set to head to Washington D.C. tomorrow and make a passionate plea for Joe Biden to allow non-essential travel from the United Kingdom to the U.S for fully vaccinated British travelers.
The British government and the E.U have lobbied since April for Joe Biden to overturn the travel ban. Unfortunately, despite the U.K and Europe reopening to American visitors this summer — the United States didn’t reciprocate.
Under the current rules, only U.S citizens, green card holders, immediate families of U.S citizens, and those with government exemptions could enter the United States if they’ve been in the UK or the EU in the previous 14 days.
The New Restrictions
The White House Coronavirus Coordinator, Jeff Zients, suggested that international arrivals would need full evidence of vaccination and proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival. There will be no quarantine on arrival if travelers can meet these requirements.
However, the U.S will make some exemptions to the vaccination restrictions, such as children under the age of 12 without full vaccination. The new rules don’t apply to travelers crossing the land borders between Mexico and Canada.
Jeff Zients told reporters, “This new international travel system follows the science to keep Americans and international air travel safe.”
“By requiring foreign nationals to be fully vaccinated in order to fly to the United States and in implementing additional strict safety protocols, we will protect Americans here at home and enhance the safety of international travel.”
He further stated that the new policy will take effect in early November. The CDC will also issue a contact tracing order that will ensure all airlines collect an email address, a phone number, and other information from travelers entering the U.S.
Jeff Zients stated, “This will enable the CDC and state and local public health officials to follow up with inbound travelers and those around them if someone has potentially been exposed to Covid-19.”
The new restrictions will apply to the U.K, 26 Schengen nations, Ireland, China, Iran, Brazil, India, and South Africa.
The Reaction From The U.K
Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, was delighted at the news. He tweeted, “It’s a fantastic boost for business and trade, and great that family and friends on both sides of the pond can be reunited once again.”
The British Ambassador to Washington Dame Karen Pierce said, “Today’s travel announcement is great news for families and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic.
“We are grateful the US has recognized the progress the UK has made against Covid-19, including high vaccination rates and declining cases.”
The news is significant for the U.S travel industry. According to reports, banning travel from the U.K and the E.U cost the U.S economy an estimated $198 million every day.
Although much of the Western world had opened up for non-essential travel, the U.S was lagging.
Today’s decision changes that.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com