Brits could be banned from entering the United States until November 2022

Sep 20, 2021

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Editors note: Since publishing this story, the United States has now announced the ban will be lifted in November 2021.


Your long overdue visit to the United States might be on hold for some time yet.

Since March 2020, no European citizens – Brits included – have been allowed into the United States for nonessential travel if they have been in Europe in the past 14 days.

Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations now suggests that the re-opening holds so much political value, it could be postponed as far as the November 2022 U.S. midterm elections under the guise of keeping Americans safe from COVID-19.

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Many countries have now re-opened their borders based on the security offered by vaccine passports and other methods of verifying a travellers vaccination status as well as the added comfort of pre-departure, and/or on arrival tests. However, the U.S. remains closed to many travellers, including their strongest allies and countries with much lower case rates than the U.S. itself.

The only exceptions are travellers with U.S. citizenship, permanent residents and direct family members, or those who have spent at least the last 14 days in a country deemed “safe”, before entering the United States.

The expectation is that the U.S. will start using vaccine passports as well, but the Biden administration appears to be hesitant to introduce such a requirement, in fear of hurting the Democrats in the upcoming midterms next year according to Alden.

“If protecting Biden’s political flank is the criterion, as it may very well be, these and other border restrictions could remain frozen until the 2022 U.S. midterm elections,” Alden wrote for Foreign Policy magazine.

Related: Here’s what it’s like to fly to London as an American right now

While there has been lots of chatter surrounding the re-opening of the U.S. to European citizens, especially during President Biden’s visit to the U.K. last June for the G7 Summit, no real action has been taken. White House officials appear to be very cautious with this decision. The delay has already led to the European Union removing the U.S. from its travel safe list again. Even vaccinated Canadian citizens are not allowed to enter the U.S. yet, even after Canada opened their borders to vaccinated and tested U.S. citizens last month.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has this week arrived in the U.S. for talks with President Biden and it can be expected that the British traveller ban is on the agenda. After all, U.S. citizens can legally enter the U.K. without quarantine for tourism purposes, making the lack of reciprocation feel increasingly unfair and irrational.

Featured photo by Tetra Images / Getty Images

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