US to Drop Pre-Travel Testing Requirement for Air Travelers
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the pandemic's new phase. Highly effective Covid-19 vaccines, available therapeutics, as well as high rates of vaccination at the American population level have all helped to lower the risk of severe disease and mortality caused by the coronavirus.
The US authorities followed the decisions of many governments worldwide that recently decided to lift entry requirements. All travelers should note that this decision is subject to change at short notice. CDC is constantly evaluating the pandemic's state and once the situation changes, the testing requirement can be reinstated.
New entry rules already effective
The testing requirements ended on Sunday, June 12, at 12:01 am ET. Flights departing to the States from a foreign country at or after that time no longer had to provide a negative test report or recovery certificate issued within the past 90 days from coronavirus infection.
Vaccination requirement remains in place
Foreign travelers still must be vaccinated to enter the US. The vaccination requirement applies to all arrivals aged 18 and older who are not US citizens/nationals, legal permanent residents, or immigrants.
There are some limited exceptions to this rule, including children aged 17 and under who do not need to be vaccinated.
US Electronic System for Travel Authorization
The majority of the travelers to the United States of America need to obtain a visa prior to their planned trip. The US Government introduced the US Visa Waiver Program allowing the number of countries entering the States visa-free.
Members of the VWP can register their trip online and obtain ESTA without needing to visit an embassy in person. Holder of ESTA can visit the States multiple times throughout its 2-year validity period. Every single stay may be as long as 90 days.
Coronavirus in the US and loosening the entry restrictions
The number of coronavirus cases in the States has dropped significantly since January 2022. The covid-related death rate remains much lower than during the height of the pandemic due to the successful vaccination campaign.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Covid-19 has infected about 85.5mln people in the US killing around 1, 011,275 people. At least 78% of the entire population have received at least one coronavirus vaccination dose, while 66% of the population are recognized as fully vaccinated. Moreover, 31% of the American population has received a booster dose.
The US lagged behind other countries in re-evaluating testing requirements. The recently announced change is expected to accelerate the recovery of the US travel industry as people are more willing to travel when the entry requirements are minimal.
According to the US Travel Association's research, dropping the testing requirement is expected to bring an additional 5.4 mln visitors to the States this year, boosting travel spending by 12%.