Travel to USA Requirements: The United States remains a top destination for travelers from around the world. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted entry requirements.
In this blog, we provide a comprehensive overview of the latest travel restrictions and entry requirements for visitors to the USA in 2023.
Latest COVID-19 Travel Developments
The US lifted all COVID-19 testing requirements for air travelers entering the country in June 2022. This includes unvaccinated travelers. Travelers no longer need to show proof of a negative test result or documentation of recovery.
However, the US still requires proof of vaccination for non-citizens entering the country by land ports of entry and ferry terminals at the US-Mexico and US-Canada borders.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to require masks for air travel within, departing from, or arriving to the US. This mask mandate is in place until April 2023.
Some state and local governments may have COVID-19 restrictions in place. It’s a good idea to check for any local requirements at your destination before traveling.
The US government recommends getting vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 before traveling. Keep in mind that rules can change quickly, so stay updated on the latest requirements. Monitor government websites for any changes.
Travel to USA Requirements
The standard visa and ESTA requirements for visiting the United States remain in place. All travelers must have valid passports and any necessary visas or travel authorizations.
Here is an overview of the entry requirements for some of the most common origin countries:
Canada to USA
Canadian citizens need a valid passport, but do not require a visa. Canadians can enter the US by land or air with a passport or enhanced driver’s license/enhanced ID card.
Mexico to USA
Mexican citizens must have a valid passport and either a:
- B1/B2 visitor visa
- Border crossing card
A border crossing card is not valid for air travel.
United Kingdom to US
British citizens can enter the US visa-free through the Visa Waiver Program. They must apply for ESTA authorization before traveling.
Citizens of most EU countries can travel to the US visa-free under the Visa Waiver Program. They must obtain an approved ESTA before departure.
Australia to USA
Australian passport holders can visit the US without a visa for stays of up to 90 days under the Visa Waiver Program. An ESTA is required.
India to USA Travel Requirements
Indian citizens need a valid visa to travel to the United States. The most common visa types are B1/B2 visitor visas and H-1B work visas.
China | Travel to USA Requirements
Chinese citizens must obtain a visitor visa (B1/B2) to travel to the United States. Student (F) and work (H-1B) visas are also common.
Travel to USA Requirements for Other Countries
Citizens of the following countries require visas for travel to the US and are not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program:
- North Korea
Check the US State Department website for the full list of countries with visa restrictions and travel to USA requirements.
COVID-19 Vaccine | Travel to USA Requirements
The United States has lifted general vaccine requirements for arriving air travelers. However, proof of vaccination is still required for:
- Non-citizens entering the US at land borders and ferry terminals from Canada or Mexico.
- Non-U.S. Individuals on Immigrant and K-1 nonimmigrant visas petitioned by a U.S. petitioner.
Travelers 18 years and older must show proof of full vaccination with an approved vaccine. Approved vaccines include:
- Johnson & Johnson/Janssen
For two-dose vaccines, travelers must have received the full series. For Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine, travelers must have received the shot at least 14 days prior to travel.
A paper or digital record issued by an official source is accepted as proof of vaccination. Make sure your vaccination documentation is in English. If not, have it professionally translated.
Travelers under 18 years old are exempt from vaccination requirements.
COVID-19 Testing Requirements
The US has removed COVID-19 testing requirements for air travelers arriving in the country, regardless of vaccination status or nationality.
You no longer need a negative test result or documentation of recovery to board a flight to the US. This includes connections through and departures from the United Arab Emirates.
However, some US states or territories may require testing upon arrival. Be sure to check local requirements at your destination.
The CDC continues to recommend getting a viral COVID-19 test 3-5 days after travel, even if you do not have symptoms.
Mask | Travel to USA Requirements
Under the CDC’s public transportation order, all air travelers aged 2 and older must wear masks that cover their nose and mouth:
- While indoors at US airports
- On passenger aircraft departing from or arriving to the US
- When traveling on public conveyances traveling into, within, or out of the US. This includes buses, trains, taxis and rideshares.
Proper masks include:
- Non-valved, multi-layer disposable masks
- Cloth masks with two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric
- Alternatively, travelers can wear well-fitting masks with a nose-wire, combined with a mask fitter or brace.
The mandate is in place through April 2023. However, the requirement could be extended again.
Travelers refusing to mask may be denied boarding, disembarked, or subject to penalties under US federal law.
There are exemptions for:
- Children under 2 years old
- Those with certain disabilities or medical conditions
Individual US states, cities and territories may also have local mask rules in place.
UK Travelers | Travel to USA Requirements
In addition to the general policies above, there are some specific requirements for British visitors to America:
- UK passport holders can travel to the US visa-free under the Visa Waiver Program. They must obtain ESTA approval before departure.
- The US still has inbound COVID-19 testing requirements for UK visitors arriving from outside the banned list of 33 countries in Europe.
- Travelers who have been in those 33 countries in the previous 14 days cannot enter the US.
- There are no vaccination or quarantine requirements for British travelers.
- Masks are required on US-bound international flights departing from the UK.
Insurance | Travel to USA Requirements
The CDC recommends getting travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage before traveling internationally. Many travel insurance plans cover COVID-19 related trip cancellations and disruptions. Some policies also cover emergency medical treatment abroad.
Carefully review policy coverage and exclusions. Make sure the plan covers you for the entire duration of your trip, including any quarantine periods.
What Happens if You Test Positive for COVID-19 While in the US?
If you test positive for COVID-19 or start having symptoms while visiting the United States, take the following steps:
- Isolate yourself from others immediately to avoid spreading the virus. Wear a high-quality mask if you must be around others.
- If staying at a hotel or other lodging, notify the management about your situation. They may have special protocols or designated isolation rooms.
- Contact your airline to notify them and discuss options for changing flights. Do not go to the airport if you have symptoms.
- Monitor your symptoms closely and seek medical attention if needed. US medical facilities will treat and stabilize all patients regardless of insurance or immigration status.
- Follow the CDC’s latest isolation guidelines before resuming activities or traveling. You can end isolation after 5 full days if fever-free and symptoms are resolving.
- Check requirements for returning to your home country, as a positive test may delay your return.
Having a contingency fund to cover additional accommodation and testing costs can give peace of mind if you test positive while in the US.
FAQs on Travel to the United States
Do I need a COVID-19 test to enter the US?
No, as of 12 June 2022 the US ended pre-departure testing requirements for air travelers entering the country. You no longer need to show a negative test result or proof of recovery.
Do I need a vaccine to travel to the US?
Vaccines are no longer required for air travelers. However, non-citizens entering the US at land borders or ferry terminals from Mexico or Canada still need proof of full vaccination. Some visa holders also require vaccination.
What are the rules for connecting flights through the US?
Passengers connecting through the US must follow the entry rules of their final destination country. Masking is required on the US leg of connecting flights. COVID-19 tests are not required for connections.
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