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How the US easing travel restrictions affects France, Germany, and the United Kingdom

A plane is seen about to land at Heathrow
REUTERS/Luke MacGregor/File Photo/File Photo
UK prime minister Boris Johnson hopes to agree on a quarantine-free travel corridor between the US and the UK at this week's G7 Summit. But for now the UK is still on the US's red list for travel.
  • Annabelle Timsit
By Annabelle Timsit

Geopolitics reporter

Published

Many rich countries are adjusting their travel rules this month as vaccination rates take off and people clamor for summer holidays.

This week, the US State Department upgraded the safety status of 85 countries that vaccinated US travelers can now go to—although it is still not recommending overseas travel.

Most travelers from the UK can’t enter the US, despite their successful vaccination programs, but US president Joe Biden and UK prime minister Boris Johnson will begin a process of reopening travel between the two countries when they meet at the G7 summit this week.

Which countries can vaccinated Americans travel to?

The State Department’s new recommendations follow a change in guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but also consider other factors, like countries’ political stability and whether they themselves allow US travelers in.

The department’s updated list groups countries and territories into four categories:

  • Level 1: “Exercise Normal Precautions”
  • Level 2: “Exercise Increased Caution”
  • Level 3: “Reconsider Travel”
  • Level 4: “Do Not Travel”

Below are some examples of countries where the State Department says Americans can go—although not all of these countries will actually let them in—and can’t go.

As of today (June 9) France is open to vaccinated travelers from the US (with a Covid test) and the EU (without one). Canada is reportedly planning to ease restrictions for vaccinated Americans at the end of the month.

Who can enter the US?

The US is still heavily restricting travel from overseas. Barring some exemptions, entry into the US is still forbidden by presidential proclamation for travelers who are not US citizens or permanent residents and who have been in the following 36 countries or territories in the past 14 days:

When will the US-UK travel ban be lifted?

As part of a new “Atlantic Charter,” announced today ahead of the G7 summit, Biden and Johnson are setting up a task force that aims to reopen travel between the US and UK as soon as possible.

The UK is a notable case because it has vaccinated more than 75% of adults with at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine (and 50% with two doses) and its government is hoping to leverage that success to launch a quarantine-free corridor with the US for vaccinated travelers from both countries. But the Delta variant is spreading quickly in some UK communities and could delay a planned nationwide reopening on June 21.

The UK is on the State Department‘s “Reconsider Travel” list, but travelers from the UK still cannot enter the US. Meanwhile, the US is on the UK’s “amber list,” meaning that travelers from there can enter the UK but only if they quarantine for 10 days and take 3 Covid-19 tests (one before departure and two during quarantine).

Major airline bosses and airport executives say it’s now or never. John Holland-Kaye, the CEO of Heathrow Airport, said in a joint statement with other CEOs of airlines that fly the US-UK route: “We cannot continue to keep locked-up indefinitely. Politicians should seize on the successful vaccination programs in our two countries to begin looking to a future where we manage Covid rather than letting it manage us.”

The story was updated with news of the task force that’s being set up to reopen travel between the US and UK.

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