Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for USA on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel

As of 8 November 2021, the US has eased its travel restrictions. See Entry requirements for more details.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in USA.

Returning to the UK

Travelling from and returning to the UK

Check what you must do to travel abroad and return to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.

Testing arrangements vary from state to state, but there are a range of providers available and you should contact local authorities in your location for information on testing facilities. Details of testing options in your area can also be found on State Health Department websites and local health department websites.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive while in the USA you will be required to quarantine in a private area, likely a hotel or private residence. The length of time will depend on the guidance in the state where you are residing. This applies to those under 18 as well. You may also be contacted by local authorities to advise to isolate if you were in close contact with someone else who tested positive. Any assistance for those required to isolate will depend on the local authority. You should check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel planner to verify local state guidance.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in USA

Many airports in the USA have implemented safety measures designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. You should check the website of the airport you are flying into or transiting to see how these could affect you.

On 21 January 2021 President Biden signed an Executive Order requiring masks to be worn on airplanes, trains, buses and at airports.

Some states have rules in place requiring travellers from other states, with high rates of COVID-19, to quarantine or to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Before travelling you should check the websites of the relevant state governments. Further information can be found on the CDC website.

A number of US states have mandated the use of masks and face coverings while in public. These will vary from state to state and there can often be different rules within different localities in the same state. You should consult the website of the state or city to which you are travelling. Further details are found on the US.GOV site. Penalties for breaches of regulations will vary between each state and may sometimes vary in different areas in the same state.

Some areas require proof of vaccination in order to access local amenities. In certain localities, children 17 and under may not be exempt from this requirement. With rising COVID cases across the country, many private venues, including restaurants and concert halls, are making proof of vaccination (or a recent negative COVID-19 test result) a requirement for entry. The precise requirements may vary from venue to venue so you should check on compliancy requirements in advance.

Accommodation

Hotels will be operating at capacities dictated by local rules and regulations.

Public places and services

Local regulations on shops, restaurants, bars, beaches and other leisure activities may be following measures designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. Some areas require proof of vaccination or evidence of a negative COVID-19 test in order to access local amenities. In certain localities, children 17 and under may not be exempt from this requirement.

You should be aware that public places likely to attract large crowds may be closed at short notice. You should follow local media and any guidance issued by local authorities.

On 9 September 2021 President Biden announced details of a 6-pronged national COVID-19 action plan. This includes requiring all employers with over 100 employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated or tested weekly. You can find details and requirements of the White House COVID-19 plan on the White House website.

Healthcare in USA

There are restrictions and prohibitions on the import of certain prescription drugs into the USA. The US Food and Drug Administration website contains further information and advice on bringing medicines into the USA. UK prescriptions are not valid in the USA. In order for a British National to obtain pharmacy drugs, you would need to have a prescription from a US provider. This can be done from attending an ‘Urgent Care’ facility, Emergency Room or a doctor’s surgery.

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should contact a local healthcare provider. More details are available on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in the USA.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in USA

Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. For the USA, details can be found on the CDC Vaccine website. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.

The USA’s national vaccination programme started in December 2020 and is using the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson), Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. British nationals resident in the USA are eligible for vaccination. Each state is responsible for distributing vaccines and has its own vaccination plan. You should contact the local health department in the state or territory where you are resident for information on COVID-19 vaccination in your area.

Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.

If you’re a British national living in the USA, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.

Further information

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

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