The United States and the United Kingdom have practically always been tied at the hip. The relationship hasn’t always been on steady ground but the fact remains that they are each among the closest and most important allies the other has
For as long as ships have crossed the Atlantic, holidaymakers from the US have gone to the shores of the UK to see cities like London and Glasgow and to reconnect with what for many of them remains their ancestral lands.
Similarly, for centuries, the glitzy appeal of New York City has been drawing British citizens yearning for the hypnotic glow of shimmering lights. As the world continues to shift and settle, the connection between these two countries and their respective populations remains tight.
Since both countries derive a huge amount of money from their tourism industries, it makes sense that they would highlight and prioritize the other’s business. That is why United States tourism officials, to entice even more visitors from the UK, have introduced the Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA visa, which passport holders from the UK are eligible to apply for.
Once a prospective tourist to the United States holds a valid ESTA, they will be able to spend as many as 90 days exploring the country. However, before they fill out their application and book their flight, it is crucial to inform themselves of the latest information regarding the opening and closing of international borders.
Are UK Travellers Allowed Into the US Now?
The coronavirus pandemic forced governments to take decisive action, which took the form of globally coordinated sealing off of populations to drastically slow down the transmission of the virus. For over a year and a half, people have been wondering when those international borders will reopen for foreigners.
The border closures have brought about a reason for locals to rediscover the UK’s hidden gems, but they have also led to an antsy feeling of cabin fever on a country-wide level.
While many British citizens would prefer to get away for a summery island escape, the complexities of each individual nation’s rules regarding quarantines, vaccinations and PCR testing means that travellers are searching for more familiar holidays, like the United States.
Unfortunately, as a result of the troubling resurgence in COVID-19 cases, largely a result of the more contagious DELTA variant, the United States is still not allowing British nationals to cross the border, even if they have been fully vaccinated.
However, there is one loophole for British passport holders to enter the United States should they qualify.
How UK Passport Holders Can Enter the US
While time is beginning to dwindle down for a summer holiday to the expansive shores of South Carolina or Los Angeles, there are plenty of upcoming events to be excited about in the United States even after the temperatures drop.
The problem, as mentioned above, is that the US will still not let most UK citizens into the country.
A solution to this problem does exist, though it is only available to UK passport holders who have not been within the UK’s borders for a minimum of two weeks.
Essentially, the UK remains on the list alongside Ireland, Schengen Area countries, Brazil, India, South Africa, China and Iran on the list of countries whose citizens are not currently allowed into the US. That means the way for UK passport holders to be allowed into the US is to spend at least fourteen days outside of these countries and hold a valid ESTA.
Spending two full weeks outside of the UK before even setting foot in the United States may not be the most budget friendly summer vacation, but it is currently the only option available to those UK passport holders who are hoping to visit friends or family on that side of the Atlantic.
Will UK Citizens Need to Quarantine Upon Arrival from the US?
In addition to all of the hurdles for foreign travel these days, UK citizens need to consider which destinations are on the red, green, or amber lists.
Green list countries mean that if a fully-vaccinated UK citizen travels there, they will not be required to quarantine on the way back provided that they test negative within two days.
Amber list countries mean that fully-vaccinated UK citizens will not need to quarantine upon their re-entry to the UK provided that they test negative for COVID after two days.
Red list countries mean that even fully-vaccinated UK citizens will be required to fully quarantine in a hotel when they re-enter the United Kingdom and test negative for COVID two times. \
Currently, the United States is on the Amber list, though that is subject to change, so it is best to check the most recent information before travelling.