UK may relax travel bans on the US and EU — but don’t expect the US to follow suit

Jul 27, 2021

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The United Kingdom government is reportedly considering relaxing travel restrictions for American and European Union travelers, the Financial Times first reported July 26.

The London-based newspaper cited a senior airport executive who claimed that the quarantine exemptions could broaden “imminently” and that the government was also considering dropping France from the new “Amber Plus” list, which keeps the old amber list rules regardless of vaccination status.

The news was also reported by The Times and The Sunday Times in the UK Tuesday:

“Ministers are expected to approve the plans tomorrow after Boris Johnson is said to have become increasingly concerned that the EU is further ahead than the UK on enabling international travel.”

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Even if the U.K. loosened its travel restrictions in the coming weeks, travelers shouldn’t expect the U.S. government to return the favor.

Reuters first reported the U.S. wouldn’t lift any of its existing travel restrictions “at this point” over concerns about the delta coronavirus variant. Most non-U.S. citizens of China, Iran, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, India and Schengen Area countries are banned from entering the United States.

“Driven by the delta variant, cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear likely continue to increase in the weeks ahead,” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said on July 26, according to Reuters.

Several countries have reopened to Americans in recent weeks. Canada on July 19 said it would reopen its borders to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens beginning on Aug. 9. The European Union has also opened to vaccinated Americans.

The delta variant is the most dominant strain in the U.S. and U.K. It now accounts for 83% of cases in the U.S., a figure the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called a “dramatic” increase from the week of July 3.

The U.S. remains on the U.K.’s medium-risk amber list. While not an outright ban like the U.S., the amber designation requires that arriving passengers in the U.K. have a pre-departure test result and quarantine for 10 days on arrival (although fully vaccinated Brits arriving in England from amber list countries are currently exempt from quarantine). Passengers must pre-book a set of tests before travel to take on days two and eight of quarantine.

Featured photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy.

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