Since 8 November, tourists and business travellers are again welcome in the United States of America. Most travellers need a vaccination certificate, a test certificate and an ESTA. On this page, you can read about all the coronavirus rules you should take into account. Last updated: 22-06-2022
The end of the travel ban in the USA
Since 8 November, you may once again travel to the USA with an ESTA for a holiday, business trip or transit. The travel ban that was issued in early 2020 because of the coronavirus has been lifted, and the UK government no longer advises against travel to the USA. This indicates that the government thinks it safe again to travel to the USA.
However, you should still take into account a number of important coronavirus rules. Adults who have not been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus are in most cases still not allowed to travel to the USA. Those who have been vaccinated do not have to take a test or undergo quarantine upon arrival in the US. The information on this page applies to travellers with citizenship of the United Kingdom and all countries of the European Union.
Step 1 Apply for your ESTA
Before travelling to the United States, you should apply for an ESTA or a visa. An ESTA is a digital travel authorisation for tourists and business travellers, which can easily be applied for online. After it has been granted, your ESTA will be valid for two years, unless your passport expires earlier. Within this period, you may travel to the USA an unlimited number of times. Each stay in the US may not exceed 90 days. You can apply for your ESTA even before you have booked your trip.
Apply for your ESTA now
Step 2 | Arranging your vaccination certificate
For a holiday, business trip or transfer in the USA, you must be fully vaccinated for a minimum of two weeks. There is an exception for children under 18, who do not need to be vaccinated. You are only fully vaccinated if you have been vaccinated twice with a coronavirus vaccine from Moderna, Pfizer / BioNTech, AstraZeneca / Covishield, Sinopharm or Sinovac, or once with the coronavirus vaccine from Janssen / Johnson & Johnson. Did you get two different kinds of vaccines? Then you may also travel to the USA if there were at least 17 days in between the two vaccinations. Proof of recovery is not accepted as a substitute for full vaccination.
When boarding your flight to the US, you must prove that you have been vaccinated. People in the United Kingdom can do this easily with their NHS COVID Pass QR code. Those who prefer not to use an app can have a letter sent to them, or print a paper vaccination certificate via nhs.uk. Travellers of other nationalities can find out how to present a vaccination certificate here. You can also show a printout or photo of another type of vaccination certificate issued by a government authority. This must show: the name of the issuing government agency, the type of coronavirus vaccine, the date(s) of vaccination and your full name and date of birth, which are also listed on your ESTA.
There are a few exceptions to the vaccination requirement. This goes for, among others, travellers who, for a medical reason, cannot be vaccinated for coronavirus and for travellers from countries with a low availability of COVID-19 vaccines. If you wish to make use of the exception rule, you must fill in and sign a declaration. In most cases, travellers under this exception need to quarantine for 5 days after arriving in the USA.
Step 3 | After arrival in the USA
You are advised to follow the local coronavirus rules. These may differ per state. International travellers are advised to get themselves tested for COVID-19 from day 3 to 5 after arrival. This can be done with a COVIDntest of choice, including with a self test. This advice is not relevant for travellers who have recovered from the virus within the last 90 days. Furthermore, people older than 2 years of age are advised to wear a facemask in busy, public indoor spaces, such as train stations, airports, public transport, etc.
On 8 November, the US COVID-19 travel ban was lifted.
If you do get COVID-19
You may not travel to the United States if you have tested positive for the coronavirus and should still be in quarantine. You are also not allowed to travel if you have symptoms of coronavirus / COVID-19, even if you have an ESTA, a vaccination certificate and a test certificate. It is wise to check with your travel agent or travel insurance company in advance to see if you will be reimbursed for any damages that may occur as a result. The ESTA cost cannot be refunded if you are unable to travel due to coronavirus. However, you can then still use your ESTA for your next trip.
Returning to the UK
If you travel back to the UK, you don’t need to take any COVID-19 tests. You also don’t need to complete a passenger locator form or quarantine after returning to the UK either. These rules apply to all UK citizens, regardless of their vaccination status. This also applies to passengers transiting in the UK.
Disclaimer: This page about travel to the USA with an ESTA during the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic is regularly updated with current information. However, due to the complexity and changeability of coronavirus rules, this page cannot be guaranteed to be complete and current at all times, and therefore no rights can be derived from it.