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Covid-19: how to go to the USA despite the travel ban?

Statue of Liberty New York
The Statue of Liberty and the Skyline of New York. (Photo DR)

The Travel Ban has been in place since March 13, 2020

  • Since March 13, 2020, the American authorities have applied a “Travel Ban”, a travel ban intended to curb the spread of Covid-19. This prohibition applies to anyone who has resided for the past 14 days in a country in the Schengen area, in the UK, Ireland, China, Brazil, Iran, India or South Africa.
  • Exceptions are in place, as you can read in my article dedicated to list of people who can currently travel to the USA. This applies in particular to persons married to a US resident or to the parents of a US child. But it must be recognized that the cases are very very specific.
  • Many of you also write to me to ask me about the lifting of the “Travel Ban” and to tell me about your situation and the impossibility of visiting your children or grandchildren who live in the USA. I am thinking in particular of Geneviève who has not seen her daughter for 3 years while she lives in Miami.

The solution to circumvent the Travel Ban

  • If you absolutely want to go to the USA, know that there is a possibility: go through a third country. The USA prohibits access to people who have spent the last 14 days in Europe, it is enough to spend 14 days in a country authorized by the USA.
  • You can then stay 14 full days in the West Indies, Mexico, North Africa, Canada or any other country that is not on the Travel Ban list. Note that Martinique, Guadeloupe and French territories located outside Europe are not part of the Schengen area.
  • Once the 14 days have elapsed, you can then take a flight to the USA and enter American territory without difficulty. Obviously, this circumvention requires having the time and being able to allocate an additional budget for accommodation and living on site for 14 days.
  • This solution has in any case been used by several people who have told me about their experience. This is the case, for example, of Hélène and Jean-Micael who spent 14 days in Martinique in July in order to then be able to go to their son’s wedding in Orlando. If you too have done it, do not hesitate to write to me to tell me about your experience:

The conditions to be met to circumvent the Travel Ban

  • Be sure to spend 14 full days outside of Europe. This means that travel days do not count. So plan a total of 16 days including the days dedicated to flights.
  • Whether or not you are vaccinated against Covid-19, you must present the negative result of a test (PCR or antigen) carried out one to 3 days before boarding your flight to the USA. This constitutes an obligation.
  • After arriving in the USA, the American authorities recommend that you carry out a new Covid test 3 to 5 days after your arrival. The test must obviously be negative. This time it is only a recommendation and not an obligation.
  • Please note: if you have not been vaccinated against Covid, you will have to respect a 10-day quarantine and stay strictly at the address you declared. The duration of quarantine can be reduced to 7 days if you present a negative test after the 7th day.

My advice for choosing a third country

  • Be careful when choosing the third country: make sure that the sanitary situation will not deteriorate suddenly and that a containment is not going to be decided, blocking you in the country. I am thinking in particular of French Polynesia which has adopted a new confinement until September 20, 2021.
  • As long as you have to spend 14 days outside Europe, opt for the West Indies or a country on the American continent: this will have the advantage of allowing you to acclimatize to jet lag. When you fly to the USA, you will already be in the American time zone.

Return conditions

  • For the return, you can make a direct flight to Europe. Your European passport actually allows you to return home without difficulty.
  • The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs specifies that unvaccinated travelers from countries in orange, including the USA, must present on boarding the negative result of a PCR test carried out within 72 hours or of an antigen test carried out less than 48 hours before the flight.

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Journalist specializing in tourism, I founded the CNEWYORK site in 1999. But my passion for travel obviously does not stop in New York. And that’s how I created a site about the American West, London, Rome and France.

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