Hello USA: New Omicron-Related Travel Ban

TripBlog
Dec 1, 2021

Editor's Note: This article was updated 2021-12-01 to reflect the recent announcement of new restrictions on travelers from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Foreign nationals who have visited any of those locations within 14 days of their intended arrival are prohibited from entering the United States. This travel ban does not apply to US citizens, lawful permanent residents, or to the spouses, parents, legal guardians, siblings, children, foster children, or wards of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident. See the details below for more information.

Contents

USA Reopening
Southern Africa Travel Ban
Who can travel to the USA?
What counts as being fully vaccinated?
Do vaccinated travelers need a COVID-19 test?
What about travelers who've recovered from COVID-19?
What about arriving at land or sea border checkpoints?
What happens when travelers arrive in the USA?
What about contact tracing?
Two-Way Quarantine Free Travel
Things To Do in the United States

USA Reopening

Hello USA: New Omicron-Related Travel Ban

Southern Africa Travel Ban

In response to the emergence of the new Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern, the Administration of President Joe Biden has imposed travel restrictions on several countries in southern Africa. Foreign nationals who have visited Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe within 14 days of their intended arrival date are prohibited from entering the United States. This travel ban does not apply to US citizens, lawful permanent residents, or to the spouses, parents, legal guardians, siblings, children, foster children, or wards of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident. Such persons must present proof of a negative nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) test or an antigen test. Test results must be issued no more than 3 days prior to departure in the case of fully vaccinated travelers or no more than 1 day prior to departure in the case of unvaccinated travelers.

Who can travel to the USA?

Hello USA: New Omicron-Related Travel Ban

In order to travel to the United States from anywhere except Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, travelers 18 years of age or older must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This requirement applies to everyone who is not a US national, lawful permanent resident, or who is traveling to the US on a valid immigrant visa. Some exemptions are available including for crewmembers of airlines or other aircraft operators, diplomats and persons traveling as part of an official foreign delegation, persons with documented medical conditions that prevent them from being vaccinated, persons traveling with a humanitarian or emergency exception, and a limited number of additional categories of travelers.

In order to travel to the United States, you must meet all applicable requirements including obtaining a valid entry visa if required. If you're not sure whether you qualify for visa-free travel to the United States under the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP), you should check with your local US embassy or consulate prior to finalizing travel arrangements. Travelers holding passports issued by countries in the Schengen Area, Ireland, or the United Kingdom may be eligible for the visa-free entry to the United States under the VWP. Travelers who qualify under VWP must obtain electronic travel authorization before departing for the United States.

What counts as being fully vaccinated?

Hello USA: New Omicron-Related Travel Ban

Travelers must prove they completed a full vaccination regimen using a COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO). Travelers must have received all relevant doses at least 14 days prior to when they plan to arrive in the United States. Children under 18 years of age are exempt from the vaccination requirement. In order to establish proof, the United States requires travelers to show either a digital or a paper-based record of vaccination. These records must contain personally identifying information that matches the traveler's passport or other travel documents and must contain information regarding who administered the vaccine, who manufactured it, and when.

Do vaccinated travelers need a COVID-19 test?

Hello USA: New Omicron-Related Travel Ban

Yes. In order to qualify for quarantine-free entry, fully vaccinated travelers arriving by air must show proof of a negative result for COVID-19 issued no more than 3 days prior to departure using a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) or an antigen test. Unvaccinated travelers authorized to enter the United States must have a negative test result issued no more than 1 day prior to departure. Children under 2 years of age are not required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

What about travelers who've recovered from COVID-19?

Hello USA: New Omicron-Related Travel Ban

Travelers who have fully recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection may show documentation of recovery rather than a negative test result. In order to qualify, this documentation must contain proof of a previous positive COVID-19 test result issued no more than 90 days before a traveler's intended departure and must be accompanied by an official letter from an authorized healthcare provider attesting that the traveler is cleared to travel. The letter must contain personally identifying information that matches the traveler's passport or other travel documents.

What about arriving at land or sea border checkpoints?

Hello USA: New Omicron-Related Travel Ban

Excellent question! Foreign travelers seeking to enter the United States via land or sea border checkpoints must show valid proof of vaccination against COVID-19. This requirement is the same as outlined above for air travelers. At the time of writing, the requirement to show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery does not apply to travelers arriving at land or sea border checkpoints.

What happens when travelers arrive in the USA?

Hello USA: New Omicron-Related Travel Ban

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends travelers undergo additional testing for COVID-19 between 3 and 5 days following their arrival. All travelers should self-monitor for symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and should self-isolate if they develop such symptoms. Travelers should follow any additional state or local recommendations and requirements after arriving in the United States. Unvaccinated travelers authorized to travel to the US should self-isolate for between 7 and 10 days after arriving from abroad according to current CDC recommendations. All travelers are required to wear facemasks that completely cover their nose and mouth when they are traveling on public transportation or are at a transportation hub.

What about contact tracing?

Hello USA: New Omicron-Related Travel Ban

All air travelers (including US nationals) must provide valid contact information to airline staff prior to boarding flights bound for the United States. Travelers must fill out and submit a Passenger Disclosure and Attestation to the United States of America form. This will be provided by your airline prior to departure or is available online from the CDC.

Two-Way Quarantine Free Travel

Hello USA: New Omicron-Related Travel Ban

Travelers need to be aware of the restrictions in place in their home countries and regions regarding arrivals from the United States. Many locations continue to require travelers arriving directly from the United States or who have recently visited the US to undergo quarantine. This includes some EU Member States. Note: Policies may have changed since this article was first published.

Hello USA: New Omicron-Related Travel Ban

Things To Do in the United States

Hello USA: New Omicron-Related Travel Ban

The United States is a vast country with tons of amazing travel destinations. There are major urban centers like New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Or exquisite natural scenery found in places like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park. If you're wondering where to go or what to do, here are a few additional resources to help you plan how best to say, Hello USA!