US Lifts Ban on Southern African Countries

The US lifts the entry ban imposed earlier this month on eight southern African countries. Starting from 31st December 2021, travelers from the currently banned eight countries can enter the United States if they meet entry requirements.

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The US administration has announced that the ban imposed on eight African countries amid the Omicron's emergence will be lifted on 31st Dec. 2021. Travelers will still need to follow the recommendations of the US CDC.

The American authorities announced that the current restrictions helped to understand the nature of the Omicron and make sure that the existing COVID-19 vaccines work against this variant, especially booster shots. 

Similar Omicron-related restrictions were also imposed by the European Union, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom and Canada already lifted the ban.

Countries removed from the US' red list

The ban applied to the following eight southern African countries:

  • Botswana
  • South Africa
  • Mozambique
  • Zimbabwe
  • Lesotho
  • Namibia
  • Eswatini
  • Malawi

Starting from New Year's Eve, travelers from all the above-listed countries can visit the United States again if they meet the current entry requirements. 

Pre-arrival testing

Earlier this month, the Biden administration has tightened entry rules for international arrivals to the US introducing the obligation of the coronavirus test taken 24 hours before the intended departure time. The negative test result will be required to show before boarding the flight to the States. All travelers entering the United States by air who are aged 2 years or older need to provide a negative test result. 

Certificate of COVID-19 recovery

Those who recently recovered from the coronavirus may alternatively enter the US with a recovery certificate confirming that they have been tested positively against COVID-19 no earlier than 90 days prior to the departure flight from their country. A letter issued by a licensed health authority stating a traveler's ability to travel is also necessary.


All visitors (excluding U.S. citizens, permanent residents, U.S. immigrant visa holders) must submit a COVID-19 vaccination proof. In order to be recognized as fully vaccinated for air travel to States, it must elapse:

  • 14 days from receiving the approved single-dose coronavirus vaccine
  • 14 days from receiving the approved 2-dose coronavirus vaccine
  • 14 days from the date of receiving the full series of the approved coronavirus vaccine in a clinical trial
  • 14 days from the date of  receiving 2 doses of mixed vaccine combination administered a minimum of 17 days apart

Failure to meet one of the above criteria means that you will not be recognized as a fully vaccinated person. Check for the COVID-19 accepted vaccines in the U.S.


One more document that all eligible travelers to the U.S. should obtain prior to their American trip is ESTA. This Electronic System for Travel Authorization is an online alternative for all the countries being members of the American Visa Waiver Program. 

Travelers from all the member countries can apply online for USA ESTA and use it multiple times for tourism, business, or transit purposes throughout a 2-year validity period.

Katarzyna Żyła

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