Foreign travel advice

USA

Important COVID-19 Travel

Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. You must not travel, including abroad, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so. It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes.

Check the rules that apply to you in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

If you intend to travel to the UK from abroad, including UK nationals returning home, you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure. If you do not comply (and you do not have a valid exemption) your airline or carrier may refuse you boarding and/or you may be fined on arrival.

Before you return to the UK you must provide your journey and contact details. You must self-isolate when you enter the UK from any foreign country except Ireland, unless you have a valid exemption.

When you enter England from abroad (except Ireland), you must follow the new requirements for quarantining and taking additional COVID-19 tests. For those travelling from a country on the banned travel list you will be required to quarantine in a hotel. Different rules apply for arrivals into England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

If you are legally permitted to travel abroad, check our advice on your country of destination. Some other countries have closed borders, and may further restrict movement or bring in new rules including testing requirements with little warning.

Summary

This travel advice also covers American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and United States Virgin Islands

The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to:

  • The whole of the US based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks. However, the FCDO is not advising against travel to the Northern Mariana Islands.

If you are arriving in the UK from USA, you will need to self-isolate. If you are arriving in the UK from the Northern Mariana Islands on or after 4am on 18 January you will need to self-isolate on your arrival, unless you have a valid exemption. Check the latest guidance for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Travel to USA is subject to entry restrictions

  • British nationals cannot enter the USA and its territories if they have been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran, Brazil, China, or (as of 30 January 2021) South Africa within the previous 14 days
  • If you are flying to the US from any foreign country on or after 26 January 2021, you must have either a negative pre-departure test result (NAAT or antigen) or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 provided by a licensed health care provider or public health official. You should check the process with your airline before travelling.
  • If you are eligible to enter the USA, the CDC requires that you self-isolate for at least 7 days on arrival, and that you take a COVID-19 test 3-5 days after your arrival.

See Entry requirements for more information before you plan to travel.

Preparing for your return journey to the UK

If you’re returning to the UK from overseas, you will need to:

If your return journey to the UK transits another country, you should check whether it is subject to a travel ban or any other additional requirements. If so, contact your travel provider.

Check our advice on foreign travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and sign up for email alerts for this travel advice.

If you’re planning travel to USA, find out what you need to know about coronavirus there in the Coronavirus section.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.

For information about COVID-19 vaccines, see the Coronavirus page.

Around 3.8 million British nationals visit the USA every year. Most visits are trouble free.

There have been widespread protests across the USA since 27 May 2020, some of which have turned violent. Curfews have been enforced in many cities as a result. There is potential for further protests and curfews. You should follow the instructions of local authorities. If you do attend any peaceful protests, you should be mindful of your surroundings and move away if there are signs of trouble.

Snow storms during winter can disrupt critical infrastructure, including causing power cuts as well as delays and cancellations throughout the major transport hubs in the USA. See Snow storms

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in the USA. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. You should monitor media reports and remain vigilant at all times. See Terrorism

You should be alert to the dangers of car and street crime. See Crime

The Atlantic hurricane season normally runs from 1 June to 30 November. The Pacific hurricane season runs from 15 May to 30 November. See Hurricanes

Forest and brush fires (wildfires) are a danger in many dry areas. See Wildfires

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.