(Trends Wide) — If traveling to the United States is among your plans, this is what you need to know and what you can expect on your visit to the country during the covid-19 pandemic.
After nation-specific restrictive closures throughout much of the pandemic, the United States reopened its borders to fully vaccinated visitors on November 8, 2021.
What does it offer?
The size and scope of the United States gives travelers so many options.
There’s breathtaking scenery (Alaska, Utah, and coastal Maine) and world-renowned city breaks (New York, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles).
There is cultural variety (Boston, Austin and San Francisco) and delicious food (Chicago, New Orleans and Charleston).
Finally, it has some of the best road travel in the world (California Highway 1, Route 66, and the Blue Ridge Parkway).
Who can go to the United States?
The United States is open to all fully vaccinated visitors, although there are some particular rules depending on how they enter the country. More details below.
This means unvaccinated travelers from countries outside of the US travel bans will not be able to enter.
Unvaccinated travelers crossing the US land borders with Mexico and Canada for essential reasons will still be able to enter for some time. But, from January 2022, the restrictions are even stricter, since travelers for essential reasons from Mexico and Canada will be required to be fully vaccinated.
Requirements to enter the United States
Do I need to be vaccinated?
To be considered fully vaccinated, travelers must have received their second dose (or one dose for a single-dose vaccine) 14 days prior to arrival.
As of February 4, booster doses will not be considered in establishing that people are fully vaccinated.
The vaccine must be approved by the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) or must have an emergency use list from the World Health Organization (such as Astrazeneca). Mixed dose vaccines will also be accepted. Find the full list of accepted vaccines here, along with acceptable ways to prove vaccination.
Unvaccinated Americans can enter, but the rules are slightly stricter. They will need to provide a negative covid-19 test taken 24 hours before travel. It is recommended to quarantine for seven days and perform a second test three to five days after arrival.
Do I need to take a covid test?
From January 22, 2022, the vaccination proof rules apply to arrivals by land and ferry, as well as air travel. Get more details on air travel here. Get more details on land and ferry arrivals here. Foreigners will need to check their vaccination status and be ready to show a certificate.
There are no exceptions for US citizens or the fully vaccinated to the proof requirement. Learn more about testing here.
Passengers arriving by plane who are not US citizens or migrants must comply with these regulations to enter the United States:
- Submit proof that you are fully vaccinated against covid-19 before boarding the plane to the United States from another country.
- All passengers, from children two years old and older – whether they are US citizens or not – must present a negative covid-19 test or a recovery certificate to travel to the United States. The test must have a maximum of 24 hours before the trip.
- Those under the age of 18 are exempt from the vaccination requirement, but if arriving by air, everyone over the age of two will be required to present a negative test prior to travel. Those traveling with vaccinated adults will need to be tested within 72 hours of travel. Those traveling with unvaccinated adults will need to get tested within 24 hours of travel.
- If you recently recovered from covid-19, you must present a positive covid-19 test result carried out no later than 90 days before the flight’s departure and a letter from a doctor or public health official certifying that you can travel, according to the CDC.
The use of a mask over the nose and mouth is required in the interior areas of public transport, including planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transport
How has covid evolved in the United States?
As of April 8, 2022, the United States has recorded just over 80 million infections and 984,000 deaths from covid-19, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. At least 65% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to CDC data, and 45% have received a booster dose.
What can visitors expect from their trip to the United States?
In general, the United States is mostly open to places that tourists typically enjoy: national and state parks, winter ski resorts, museums, restaurants, entertainment venues, theme parks, and more. However, individual shows and venues may temporarily close during covid outbreaks.
Regulations around entrance tests, immunizations, and quarantines can vary widely by state, county, and city. It is important to check the rules of your destinations before you travel. This guide from Trends Wide provides links to covid rules and safety information for each state.
Regarding the use of masks, currently the states, with the exception of Hawaii, no longer require the use of masks in public places. Whether or not you should use it is an entirely different question, experts say.
Hawaii and the US territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean have some of the strictest rules for travel within the United States. Learn more about Hawaii here. Learn more about Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands here.
Some major US tourist cities (New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Washington, among others) currently have vaccine or testing mandates for indoor entertainment venues. Learn more about visiting New York City here.
Our recent coverage
Get all the details in our article with the most frequently asked questions about travel rules in the United States, or if you are contemplating going to New York, see our latest information here.
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Finally, this gallery of 22 of the best places to visit in the United States can help you start making plans.