News, Culture & Society

America holidays: Everything you need to know about travelling to the US, from jab rules to visas

The Daily Mail Escape team has everything you need to know about the reopening of travel to the U.S and how to keep its notoriously impatient border guards sweet.

Fit-to-fly certificates at the ready!

Can we finally go to America?

The Daily Mail Escape team have offered tips on how to keep America’s notoriously impatient border guards sweet

Not immediately — but from Monday we can, as President Joe Biden has lifted the long-running blanket ban on UK tourists. But there is one caveat.

What’s that?

You must be fully vaccinated to travel.

Can you go if you’re not vaccinated?

There are exemptions for diplomats, air crew and United Nations officials.

Are there any other requirements for double-jabbed travellers?

Yes. You must also take a Covid test and have proof of a negative result within three days of departure. This can be either an antigen/lateral flow test or a PCR test. The test certificate must be marked with your name as shown on your passport plus at least one other ‘identifier’ such as your date of birth or passport number.

Test certificates can be in digital or paper form to show at check-in on departure and to border officials on arrival.

Can I use an NHS test for this?

Almost certainly not. U.S. border control wording is not clear on this, so it is essential to err on the side of caution and book and pay for a private test at a registered medical laboratory. Prices for antigen/lateral flow tests are cheapest, varying from £25 to £50. You must have the test taken by a laboratory — you cannot complete a test at home without supervision as these are open to fraud.

What about tests taken via video/Zoom while medical lab staff witness it?

Such tests are acceptable.

The US opens to British holidaymakers from November 8 - but Britons must be fully-vaccinated to travel

The US opens to British holidaymakers from November 8 – but Britons must be fully-vaccinated to travel  

What proof of being fully vaccinated will I need?

Your NHS Travel Covid Pass is sufficient. You will need to be able to show the ‘QR’ code to your airline and to officials on arrival, either printed or in digital form.

Is the AstraZeneca vaccine accepted as it has not yet been approved there?

Yes. America’s health regulator, the Centers for Disease Control, accepts Oxford AstraZeneca jabs as these have been approved by the World Health Organisation.

What about children?

Children under 18 travelling with a fully vaccinated adult are exempt from the requirement to be fully vaccinated, but those aged two to 17 must take a lateral flow or PCR test within three days of departure. Children under 18 travelling solo need to take a test within one day of travel.

Anything else you need?

Yes. Each tourist must, as was required pre-pandemic, complete an ESTA form to enter the U.S. ‘ESTA’ stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorisation. These cost £9 and should be completed at least 72 hours prior to travel. Apply via

Do you need to wear a face mask while flying?

Yes — and also at U.S. airports.

Travellers are required to wear a face mask while flying and travelling through U.S. airports

Travellers are required to wear a face mask while flying and travelling through U.S. airports

Do you have to wear a face mask everywhere?

Each state has its own rules, although masks are mandatory on public transport. Some places have special rules for indoor gatherings that could affect children. In New York, anyone over 12 must have proof of having at least one jab when attending restaurants, cafes, shops, cinemas and museums. See ‘Key to NYC’ at

For a state-by-state breakdown see ‘List of Coronavirus-Related Restrictions’ at

What about further information in general about U.S. travel rules?

Go to the ‘Entry Requirements’ page for the U.S. at Also see the ‘U.S. Visa and Travel FAQs’ page of

Are flight prices cheap?

Very. If you book in advance and are flexible on dates, a return to the west coast is from around £400, while New York is from about £340 return. Check and Google Flights.