US to Implement Stricter Testing Requirements
The Biden administration has announced the tightening of entry rules for visitors to the U.S. All international travelers now need to take the COVID-19 test within 24 hours prior to the planned departure. The States will also extend mask requirements on all domestic flights as well as public transportation until March 18th, 2022.
The new regulations will come into force next week and are being introduced as part of the American plan of fighting coronavirus. The entire world prepares to enter the third year of the unceasing COVID-19 pandemic.
Omicron in the U.S.
The decision to tighten up the entry rules was caused by the evolution and discovery of a new coronavirus variant, Omicron. The new variant was first reported to the World Health Organization a week ago by South Africa. For the time being, about 29 countries in the world confirmed Omicron cases. This number is subject to change due to the rapidly changing coronavirus situation. The States reported the first Omicron case in Northern Carolina on Wednesday, 1st December.
Until now, it was required to submit a negative test taken within 72 hours before departure. It applied to vaccinated travelers, while unvaccinated ones already had to take the test within 1 day prior to their departure. That rule was implemented in November this year when the States finally reopened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers coming from 33 countries.
The new entry protocol requiring pre-testing one day before departure will apply to all incoming foreign travelers no matter their citizenship status, country of origin, or vaccinated status. The country has also extended a mask requirement that was supposed to be ceased in January 2022.
COVID-19 strategy and vaccination campaign
The Biden administration started to work on a coronavirus migration strategy for the incoming winter even before the emergence of Omicron. The strategy is connected with the expected increased numbers of people traveling during holidays. The evolution of the new coronavirus only emphasized the need to make Americans aware of the importance of getting vaccinated. The new strategy comprises the introduction of hundreds of sites where the entire family would be given an opportunity to be immunized.
Nearly all citizens of America aged 65 and older have been vaccinated with at least one dose, 70% of all Americans have received at least one shot.
ESTA to the United States
All travelers coming from the countries participating in Visa Waiver Program can obtain an online authorization for their trip to America. USA ESTA functions as an online alternative to the regular American visa and can be used for all business, tourism-related trips as well as transit through the States.
Every applicant must remember to submit an online application at least 3 business days in advance!