The U.S. still requires travelers to present a negative Covid-19 test result to enter – despite their neighbors Canada’s decision to remove the requirement from April 1st. Whereas once Canada had the most restrictive entry requirements of the North American countries, their recent changes will make it easier for travelers to enter – whilst those visiting the U.S. will still have several hoops to jump through.
The decision to keep the current testing requirements for travelers prior to visiting the US remains a contentious one, with both travelers and those in the travel industry alike all voicing their opposition to the policy amidst fears that it could be holding back US tourism – particularly when comparing the US to neighboring Canada and Mexico and their comparatively lighter entry requirements. Here’s a look at the US’ entry requirements, why they are proving controversial and what the future might hold for them.
Testing Requirement Remains – What Travelers Should Know
The current entry rules of the US state that all travelers above the age of 2 who arrive into the country “are required show a negative COVID-19 viral test result taken no more than 1 day before travel, or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days, before they board their flight.” This requirement is for all travelers, regardless of citizenship, nationality or vaccination status.
In contrast, Canada is set to be much easier for travelers to enter. From April 1st, the country will remove the negative test requirement for all vaccinated arrivals, making it easier and cheaper for travelers to be able to enter the country. Removing the testing requirement is a decision that several countries have made over the past few months, and the US’ reluctance to follow could harm the country’s tourism prospects.
Mexico was one of the earliest adoptees of a relaxed approach to Covid-19 entry requirements and has benefited from impressive traveler numbers as a result, with a large number of travelers both from the US and internationally flying to the country due to its ease of access and laid-back approach to the pandemic. The US could be missing out on travelers due to their current stance – an opinion that is also shared by travel businesses across the country.
On Tuesday, the US Travel Association wrote a letter to the White House in which they urged them to lift both the current Covid-19 travel restrictions and repeal the transport mask mandates. They called upon the government to take such measures by April 18th – or to release “a plan and timeline to repeal the federal mask mandate within the subsequent 90 days.”
In the letter, US Travel Chief Executive Roger Dow wrote:
“It makes little sense to keep the pre-departure testing requirement in place for inbound air travelers when the U.S. government does not require negative tests at US-Canada and US-Mexico land border points of entry.”
There is a strong argument to suggest that the US should heed the calls of the Travel Association. Cases of Covid-19 across the country remain relatively lower, whilst other governments airlines around the world have also repealed their mask mandates in response to low case and hospitalization levels. The eyes of the travel world will be on the US on April 18th – the date that the current requirement to wear masks on public transport expires – to see if that rule and any others will finally be repealed.
This article originally appeared on Travel Off Path. For the latest breaking news that will affect your next trip, please visit: Traveloffpath.com
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories