After more than 2 years of COVID-19 pandemic with significant restrictions in the daily lives of everyone around the world, there is gradually more relief in the freedom to travel. What can you expect on your next trip to the U.S.?
After nearly 2 years of a travel ban in the U.S. for international travelers, most of the travel restrictions were lifted in November 2021. Travelers vaccinated and tested against COVID-19 were allowed to return to the U.S., subject to compliance with all current travel regulations and, in some cases, required quarantine requirements and a masking requirement.
With declines in critically high COVID-19 disease rates and advanced vaccination status worldwide, protective measures have been increasingly reduced in everyday life in recent months. Travelers to the United States, as of June 12, 2022, are now no longer required to show the airline a negative coronal test or, alternatively, 90 days of active recovery status prior to boarding. I.e., the previous proof of a negative COVID-19 test (not older than one day prior to departure to the U.S.) no longer applies.
Despite decreasing corona disease cases worldwide, some safety measures are still acute in many areas. As in Germany, each state and, in some cases, major cities in the U.S. have activated different measures.
Therefore, it is best to familiarize yourself with the local protective measures before entering the USA.
Even though there have been relaxations regarding proof of testing to board a flight to the U.S., international travelers are still required to have proof of Corona vaccination with a vaccine approved in the U.S.
Proof of existing vaccination must be provided to the airline prior to departure. Many airlines offer this service through apps or even dedicated sites to avoid document chaos at the airport.
The vaccination certificate should be available digitally in English and contain the full name of the traveler, the date of birth, the dates of the administered vaccinations and the vaccine name.
Unlike in many European countries, convalescent status does not play a role in the U.S. except as an alternative to a negative coronal test. Should you wish to travel to the U.S., it is mandatory to have COVID-19 vaccine protection, as convalescent status is not a substitute for vaccination.
In the wake of the relaxation of protective measures, most U.S. states also currently no longer require people to wear mouth-to-nose coverings in public places or even on public transportation.
Many airlines have also relaxed their policies and no longer require their passengers to wear a face shield during a flight within the United States. However, the requirements during an international flight to or from the U.S. have not yet been partially lifted.
In general, the CDC continues to recommend that all people over the age of 2 continue to wear a mask that covers the mouth and nose on public transportation and major transportation hubs such as airports, train stations, on planes, trains, and even buses.
The travel industry worldwide expects as many travelers this summer as before the pandemic. The U.S. in particular, which was closed to international travelers for 19 months due to the travel ban, will see an increased influx of tourists this year.
Due to the pandemic, many airlines around the world are currently experiencing severe staff shortages, affecting not only personnel in the air, but also on the ground. Due to the restricted air traffic within the last years, many affected employees from the tourism industry have had to look for new jobs and have left the critical travel industry completely.
The first airlines have already warned for the coming months that there may be flight cancellations in addition to long waiting times at the airport. However, airports will be even more directly affected, as there is also an enormous shortage of staff, especially at security checks, baggage and check-in.
But already when preparing for the vacation, the waiting time starts. This is because there has also been a backlog in the processing of U. S. visas over the past few months due to closures, illness and a lack of staff.
Travelers to the USA must therefore expect longer waiting times, currently for B visas sometimes with a lead time of 6-8 months. Those who cannot travel with ESTA approval and do not yet have a visa will have little or no opportunity to travel to the USA at short notice this year. However, the deadline situation is constantly changing, depending on the US consulate and visa category.
Therefore, we can currently only advise you not to book a flight until you have secured an appointment at the US consulate.
In addition, you can currently plan for increased costs when vacationing in the USA, both in terms of flight and hotel costs, as well as rental cars, fuel and food.
The USA was always known and popular for many years for affordable rental cars, but especially the cheap fuel. Especially for vacationers who planned long road trips through the land of freedom, this was an enormous relief and saving factor in addition to the otherwise high expenses for food or even hotels. But the combination of the Corona pandemic, the Ukraine war and inflation are also clearly noticeable in the USA.
Updated on 14.6.2022