US State Department relaxes travel advisories for Americans visiting the UK and Israel

May 11, 2021

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As the vaccination programmes in the United Kingdom and Israel continue to roll out at pace, the U.S. State Department has relaxed some travel warnings for American tourists hoping to cross the Atlantic.

In another promising sign for summer travel, the U.K. has been reduced from a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” rating, down to a “Level 3: Reconsider Travel” rating from Monday 10 May 2021. The move coincides with the U.K. government’s move to downgrade the country’s warning from level four to level three, which means that the epidemic “is in general circulation,” rather than “transmission is high or rising exponentially.”

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Unfortunately, the United States was placed on the amber travel list by the U.K. government last week. This means that despite the U.S. State Department’s advice to American travellers, any arrivals from the United States to the United Kingdom, regardless of nationality, will continue to be required to quarantine at home or in a hotel for a period of 10 days.

They will need to pre-book a Day 2 and Day 8 testing package. The quarantine period can be reduced upon the completion of an additional PCR test after five full days of quarantine. If that test returns a negative result, they can forgo the rest of the quarantine period, but will still need to take the Day 8 test. In total, arrivals in that reduced quarantine scenario will need to take three PCR tests.

Related: Pressure mounts on governments to establish US-UK travel corridor by June 

Any American citizen or resident aged 2 and older returning from the U.K. to the U.S. must also present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of flying (now a requirement for all international travellers to the U.S., effective 26 January 2021) or have documented proof from a licensed healthcare provider of recovery from the virus within the past 90 days.

Non-American citizens looking to visit the United States from the United Kingdom for leisure purposes are currently prohibited from doing so since March 2020.

Israel, one of the world’s most vaccinated countries per capita, has been further reduced to “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution,” though it’s not currently allowing most foreign tourists.

On 6 April 2021, Israel announced it would begin allowing non-citizens who are fully vaccinated into the country, however, those permitted in will be limited to those who can prove they have an Israeli family member or fall into very specific categories. Details can be found here.

Israel hopes to begin allowing others to visit in the coming months as vaccinations continue worldwide.

With Monday’s announcement from the U.S. State Department, most other foreign destinations remain at Level 4: Do Not Travel on the State Department’s travel advice.

The travel industry has been pushing the U.S. and U.K. to open a travel corridor between the two countries to allow for quarantine-free travel. With last week’s announcement that the U.S. didn’t make the green list, the idea faced a setback. However, there are still hopes that the corridor could open by June’s G7 Summit in Cornwall, England.

Featured image by Alexander Spatari / Gettys Images

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