While nothing is official yet, we now have a sense of when the current U.S. travel restrictions might be lifted.
The US could lift the border restrictions in mid-May
It is reported that the Biden government is currently considering lifting many of the current border restrictions around mid-May 2021, so it may do so in less than two months. The White House appears to be considering lifting the following travel restrictions:
- Travel across land borders to Canada and Mexico
- Incoming international travel from the UK, the European Union and Brazil
There is currently no mention of:
The travel bans for Brazil, China, the European Union and the United Kingdom were all introduced by Trump, while the travel ban for South Africa and pre-travel testing requirements were introduced by Biden.
An anonymous senior administration official said the following about this development:
“There will be a major change in mid-May when vaccines will be available to everyone.”
As you can see, the schedule is based on the hope that vaccines will be available to all American adults by May 2021.
In some ways I’m surprised by the timeline here – the general hope is that all Americans who want a vaccine will have immunity by around July, as it can be six weeks to get your first dose to get a maximum Develop immunity from your second dose.
Personally, I would consider this a fantastic development. The U.S. borders have been closed to so many people for a year and in many cases these are not just tourists, but people in long-distance relationships, etc.
More people could visit the US from May onwards
Will other countries lift restrictions on Americans?
While it sounds like the US will lift most of the travel restrictions in a few weeks, it’s important to understand that this will benefit non-Americans planning to travel to the US rather than Americans trying to travel abroad.
It is unclear if and when the current travel restrictions against Americans will be lifted:
- Brazil has no ban on Americans, so there is nothing there that can be reversed
- The UK is not specifically banning Americans, but those coming from the US (and many other countries) must be quarantined upon arrival like any other from a high risk area. The UK plans to allow travel on May 17th at the earliest so I think these schedules might in some ways coincide
- Canada bans Americans, and given the recent introduction of vaccines in Canada, I wouldn’t necessarily expect Canada to return the favor right away
- The European Union has banned visitors from a large majority of countries lest the US be singled out
It is entirely possible that we could see some form of reciprocity, but personally I wouldn’t expect Americans to be able to visit Canada, the European Union or the UK without restrictions in May.
It’s everyone’s guess when Americans can visit the UK again without quarantine
It is reported that Biden intends to end the border restrictions currently in place in Brazil, Canada, the European Union, Mexico and the United Kingdom around mid-May 2021.
This hasn’t been publicly announced so I wouldn’t be booking a non-refundable trip, but at least it’s great to know what the White House is thinking right now. How exciting to think that within a few weeks these restrictions could end and allow people to visit the US.
Hopefully this will also see us seeing more goals open to the Americans, although I wouldn’t necessarily count on the same timeline.
What do you think of the timeline for the US lifting of current border restrictions?