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20 May 2022

USA entry requirements: Who can travel to the USA from the UK?

A holiday in the States is now possible if you’re fully vaccinated or under 18. Read the latest guidance below.

Whether it's that family holiday to Disney World or a classic American road trip you've been dreaming of, if you're fully vaccinated, you can now travel to the USA from the UK. Here, we unpick all of the USA's latest entry requirements. 

The USA reopened to fully vaccinated UK travellers in November 2021. Despite being fully vaccinated, holiday makers must take a Covid test within one day of departure.

Unvaccinated children can also travel to the USA and must also take a test if aged two or older. However, unvaccinated adults are still not allowed to travel to the USA for tourism. 

Remember that travel restrictions can change very quickly and without much warning, so be prepared for your plans to change. If you can, book your trip to the USA as a package holiday with a provider with good flexible policies in place. It’s also vital to have decent travel insurance. Read our guide to finding the best coverage without paying through the nose

If you are booking flights only, British Airways book with confidence policy and Virgin Atlantic's flexible booking policy are generous. Both airlines allow you to not travel for any reason and hold the value of your flight as a voucher. Beware though that for BA, this is for journeys due to be completed by 31 August 2022. For Virgin, this covers journeys due to be completed by 30 April 2022. You can use the voucher to rebook new dates, or even a different destination. 

Package holidays are a better way to protect your money. If the travel ban remains, your operator will cancel your package holiday entitling you to rebook for a new date or to receive a full refund. Many trips to Florida and Disneyland in California are offered on a package basis. 

If you are planning to fly with Tui, Virgin or British Airways, you might consider booking a package holiday (accommodation and flights together) instead, with Tui Holidays, Virgin Holidays or British Airways.


Flying to the USA and looking for a decent airline? Find out which airlines have the most flexible policies.


Do I need to be fully vaccinated to travel to the USA? 

Yes, unless you are under 18. The USA will only allow adults who have been fully vaccinated to travel. 

You are required to provide evidence of vaccination either through the NHS Covid app, with  an NHS letter, or any other accepted forms of proof in order to travel. You can check these via the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website. The USA will also accept the UK's proof of recent recovery record. 

Can unvaccinated children travel to the USA from the UK? 

Yes. Children under the age of 18 are exempt from the vaccination rule. Those aged between two and 17 need to take a pre-departure test one day prior to departure, the same as eligible adults. 

Can you use proof of recent recovery to travel to the USA?

Adults cannot enter the USA unless fully vaccinated. Even if you have proof of recent recovery, you will not be able to enter the USA without proof of a full vaccination course.

Do you need to show a negative Covid test to enter the USA as well as proof of vaccination? 

Yes. UK travellers aged 18 and over need to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test result, as well as proof of vaccination status. You will need to have taken this test no more than 24 hours before your flight to the US departs. 

What type of test do I need to travel to the USA?

When choosing a test you need to read the requirements carefully. Antigen tests are acceptable, but not all DIY home tests will be permitted. If you choose a home test, it must be supervised by the test provider on a video call so that they can confirm your identity, they must watch you take the sample and then issue a report that meets CDC requirements. 

Now that you have to get the test turned around within 24 hours, it would be easier to either choose an approved home antigen test (check the CDC website for details) as the turnaround is quicker than a PCR test, book into a clinic, or pay for a speedy airport test. 

Children do not need to show proof of vaccination. 

Do I need to wear a mask on the flight?

No. It is no longer federal law to wear a mask on your flight to the USA. Bear in mind that some states or cities might impose a mask-wearing rule on flights, so it’s best to go prepared with some masks and check the latest travel advice for the area you’re travelling to.


Unsure whether you need to wear a mask on your flight? We’ve checked 18 airlines’ latest mask requirements to make it easier for you.


Do I need a PLF for trips to the USA?

No, but you will need an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver to enter the USA. Apply for one via the official USA website, and be wary of fake PLF, ESTA and visa sites ripping you off for large sums of money on essential travel documents.

Do I need to do anything to return to the UK?

The UK government dropped all remaining Covid travel restrictions in March 2022, meaning regardless of vaccination status, you won’t need to test or quarantine when travelling back to the UK.