COVID-19 News and US Travel Updates

USA travel 2021 during the Coronavirus Pandemic

October 2021 - In welcome news to travellers from the UK and Schengen area countries, the White House Covid 19 response team coordinator, Jeff Zient, announced recently that the United States government will be lifting some travel and entry restrictions, in place since March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The plan opens the door to travel to the US resuming for many― including for ESTA Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) travellers. Vaccinated citizens of the UK and most other EU countries are expected to be allowed to visit the United States provided they meet a few criteria including vaccination proof and a negative Covid test taken 72 hours or less prior to travel.

US to Lift Restrictions on Travel to UK, Ireland and Europe in November 2021


15 July 2021 Update - US posed to re-open some travel from the EU and Schengen area soon

The United States is carefully weighing options to re-open some travel from select European Union nations. The US President Joseph Biden, on 15 July 2021 said discussion about when to lift the travel ban on Schengen countries which as been in place since March 2020 is, "in process now." Questioned after a meeting with German Chancellor Angel Merkel, Biden answered questions about lifting the US entry ban which has been in effect since March 2020, and said of the prospect of serious discussions about lifting the ban "within the next several days what is likely to happen... I'm waiting to hear from our folks in our COVID team as to when that should be done."

16 June 2021 update – The United States has been aggressive in their COVID-19 vaccine distribution over the past months. Similar is that of the United Kingdom where the rollout has also been at a brisk pace. The country of 321million people has fully vaccinated 146 million citizens and residents and at least 175 million Americans have completed once dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine rate in the UK as of 16 June: more than 42 million people which represents 80% of the population has received at least one dose of the coronavirus (SARS CoV-2) vaccine.

ESTA Travel:COVID-19 and the United States entry ban

The entry ban established by a proclamation by the US government on travelers including Brits, United Kingdom citizens, and other foreign nationals, is still in effect as of June 2021. This travel restriction also known as an entry ban―which began in March of 2020―is based on time spent in nations and states deemed by the United States to be high risk for transmission of the 2019 coronavirus which cause COVID-19. Understandably some travelers have been confused; we will clarify here.

The travel restrictions, also known as the “United States entry ban,” are not based on country of citizenship, nor are they specific to only for those with ESTA authorization for visa-free travel to the United States. The United States entry ban restrictions are imposed all travellers, based on a where a traveller’s spent 14 days prior to arrival in the US, including any time spent in, or transiting through, those countries included in the travel restrictions.

The status of allowed entry and any travel restrictions is in flux and will be changing over the next months. Bookmark our website to keep up to date on ESTA Travel news.

Planning to visit the United States once the entry ban is lifted?

One of the common UK traveller queries right now is: How can I know the US vaccine rate? You can stay updated on the latest rates of COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States online. The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has launched a helpful monitoring tool for tracking the cases reported daily, called the COVID Data Tracker with 24/7 updates of COVID-19 vaccines distributed in the US.

Which Visa Waiver Program countries are included in US ban on travel?

Due to the series of pandemic-related travel proclamations, travellers are prohibited from entry to the United States include those who have been present in the following locations 14 days prior to planned arrival in the US: United Kingdom: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Any Schengen Zone Country.

Other countries named in the entry ban proclamations (as of 1 June) include Brazil, China, Iran, South Africa, and India.
A complete list of Travellers prohibited from entry to the United States can be found on the US Centers for Disease Control website.

As of 1 June 2021, those who have been in or transited through those countries noted above are restricted from entering the United States, unless they are exempted, until further notice.

I have a Visa instead of the ESTA. Does the travel ban apply to me?

Yes, except for extenuating circumstances in which a traveller is exempt from the ban. The USA entry ban remains in effect and applies to foreign nationals who have been in or transited through the UK, Schengen Area and other listed countries during the 14 days prior to their travel to the United States.


Important ESTA application information: Eligible travellers may apply for ESTA anytime

You may apply for The Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) today. Though you may not yet travel to the US, your ESTA approval will be valid for two years or until your passport expires, whichever occurs first. If you have holiday travel to the United States planned for later in 2020 or early 2021 and you wish to have your ESTA authorized, you can apply here now.

Impact of the ban on ESTA travel to the US

All foreign nationals attempting to enter the US fall under the jurisdiction of the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. This includes ESTA authorized UK citizens and travelling under the United States Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) from the UK and Ireland. As of 1 June 2021, the restrictions on entry are still in effect for any travellers who have been physically present in any restricted countries within two weeks before travel until further notice.

There are exclusions to the entry ban for family members of US citizens, military, and family among some others who are considered exempt. 

ESTA USA Coronovirus and the current United States entry ban

The travel ban established by the US government on foreign nationals, including French citizens traveling with ESTA authorization, is not based on country of citizenship. It is based solely on recent time spent in, or transiting through, countries which are included in the entry ban.


ESTA VWP: Frequently Asked Questions


ESTA Travel to USA

What is the ESTA?

ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorisation. It is part of the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) of the US government that allows citizens of the UK, European Union and two dozen other countries entry to the United States without a need for a traditional visa. Your ESTA authorisation stays active for two years within which you are permitted stays in the US with a 90-day limit per visit.

When did the travel ban restricting entry to the US from the UK and the EU/Schengen region begin?

The travel ban on Schengen Area countries was declared in March 2020 by a United States Government Presidential Proclamation. Presently, the restrictions on entry due to the Proclamation remain active.

Can I travel to the United States with the VWP?

Not if you have been present in or transmitted through any countries or regions, including the United Kingdom that is part of the entry ban placed by the Government of the United States. There are exceptions; see below*

When will UK citizens be able to use their ESTA authorization for travel to the United States?

There has been no date announced for when the restrictions on travel from Europe will be lifted. It is possible that USA entry restrictions may be eased this summer for some countries.

Can I apply for the VWP for future travel?

Yes, absolutely. As soon as your approved application is confirmed, your ESTA authorisation permits you visa-free travel to the US. An approved ESTA is valid two years or until the expiration of one’s passport. However, any travel to the US should not be booked until the ban is lifted.

What if I already booked a flight to the US for my ESTA travel?

Any traveller who attempts to enter the US during the travel ban period specified by the United States Proclamation(s) restricting travel risks having their ESTA cancelled. As such, we suggest you cancel any reservations for air travel dur and rebook after the travel ban is lifted. No refunds shall be granted for any ESTA cancelled for violation of the restrictions.

Do I get a refund if I cancel my ESTA?

While the temporary travel ban on the UK and the EU is active, cancelation of an ESTA application is non-refundable if the termination is as a result of the travel restrictions proclamation. We advise that travellers subject to the Proclamation postpone their travel plans to the US until the ban is lifted.

I have a residence in the US. Can I travel there?

Any traveller who has been physically present in or have travelled through a Schengen Area country within 14 days of requested entry into the US, would be denied entry into the United States. You may contact a local US Embassy or Consulate to make inquiries if you feel you may be exempted from the entry ban.

What are the exceptions to the travel ban? What about for emergency travel?

*Exceptions to the limitations to access specified in the US government proclamation include legitimate permanent residents or foreigners married to US citizens, as well as US Armed Forces personnel and their direct family members. Emergency travel authorisation may also be granted for some travellers. If you believe you may be exempt from the travel restrictions, contact us via Live Chat to enquire.

The US goverment still requires all travelers arriving from from abroad to have a negative COVID-19 test that is less than 72 hours old.

Travel News updates that matter to you

The news constantly changes about travel to and within the US due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated temporary travel limits placed on travellers from Europe, including the UK and Ireland. Get the latest travel updates here on our website,

Be sure to bookmark our website to stay up to date with related news about the status of the Proclamation and significant updates for VWP and ESTA travel to the US during the summer of 2021, for the holidays or winter 2022 US travel, and beyond.



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