The US government is under pressure to lift all Covid travel restrictions, with hundreds of travel firms issuing a plea to end requirement for pre-departure testing
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At the moment, unvaccinated foreigners are not allowed to enter the US and all passengers also being required to take a Covid test within one day of their journey.
Now, with a busy summer season ahead, the US Travel Association (Usta), which represents the travel industry in America, has called for “urgent repeal” of the pre-departure testing requirement.
Here’s what we need to know about current Covid travel rules in the US and when the rules are likely to be scrapped for holidaymakers.
What are the current travel rules in the US?
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Currently, all travelers – regardless of their vaccination status or citizenship – are required to have a Covid test done no more than a day before air travel into the US.
It doesn’t have to be 24 hours before departure and can be taken at any point on the day before you travel.
Rapid tests, PCRs and a number of other tests are accepted, but they must be supervised, either in person or over the internet. You must also use a private provider, rather than a government-provided test.
Only children under two years old are exempt from this pre-departure testing requirement.
After arriving in the US, fully vaccinated visitors are not required to quarantine, but are recommended to take another test within three to five days of their arrival.
All air passengers are also required to provide contact information to their airlines before boarding.
At the moment, the US is not open to unvaccinated tourists, however, children under 18 who don’t need to be vaccinated plus a few other exceptions among non-US citizens are allowed to visit the US.
Both the EU Digital Covid Certificate (EUDCC) and the UK’s NHS Covid Pass are accepted as proof of being double jabbed.
The rules require you to have received your second dose no less than 14 days before flying, but you don’t need to have had your booster to travel to the US.
When do Covid travel rules in the US come to end?
Strict Covid rules have stayed in place in the US for much longer than in many other countries around the world, with the mandate on face masks in flights being dropped just last month.
Canada, Australia, South Africa and the Netherlands have all recently announced an end to their pre-departure testing rules for fully vaccinated arrivals. It’s hoped the US will follow suit soon.
A CDC spokesperson said: “If there are any changes, we will update the public accordingly.”
However, US airlines are more optimistic.
US Delta president Glen Hauenstein said: “We are hearing good things from Washington. Hopefully that [the testing requirement] gets rolled back in the next few weeks. “
The company’s chief legal officer, Peter Carter, also told the i paper: “We are getting a strong indication that pre-departure testing will be phased out in the near future, which is quite encouraging.”