I’m a U.S. Citizen. Where in the World Can I Go?
Posted by CopyTeam
Are you experiencing longings of wanderlust? Ready for some cultural travel? Unfortunately, the outlook for the United States has changed dramatically, thanks to the uncontained spread of COVID-19 and stalled vaccination efforts.
The worst part is that other countries have begun to take defensive action to prevent our ongoing contagion from spreading abroad. Earlier this year, after the initial high level of vaccinations, prime tourist destinations throughout the world welcomed back American travelers and their tourist dollars. However, that situation has a taken a turn in the wrong direction. As a general caution, the European Union has removed the U.S. from its safe list and advised its 27 member countries to reconsider allowing nonessential, unvaccinated U.S. travelers to enter their fold.
Here’s What Changed since September 2021
- The Netherlands announced that U.S. travelers are allowed entry only if fully vaccinated, and even then, they must still quarantine for 10 days and produce a negative COVID test.
- In Italy, U.S. visitors are required to show proof of a PCR or antigen Covid test taken within 72 hours of travel, regardless of whether they are vaccinated. Travelers who are not vaccinated or have proof of recovering from COVID must quarantine for five days upon arrival and be tested again.
- Sweden has gone full bore, banning all nonessential travelers from the U.S., regardless of vaccination status.
Other countries still allow having imposed higher restrictions. For example:2
- France has banned unvaccinated Americans from entering the country, although those with an essential reason for travel will be permitted upon producing a negative COVID-19 test before travel and quarantining for seven days upon the arrival.
- Only the fully vaccinated are permitted to visit Spain and Denmark.
- Bulgaria has banned all Americans traveling to their country for non-essential reasons.
- Germany requires American tourists to either be fully vaccinated or show proof they contracted COVID-19 and have recovered.
- Portugal requires U.S. travelers 12 and older to show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of boarding a flight, or proof of a negative rapid antigen test taken within 48 hours or produce a valid EU Digital COVID Certificate.
On the other hand, November brings opposite changes for travel to the United States. Starting Nov. 8th, the White House will implement a new system for inbound international travel. The U.S. will lift COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated international visitors, ending historic restrictions that had barred much of the world from entering the United States. This travel ban has lasted for as long as 21 months. The new rules will most dramatically affect foreign nationals, but the policy will also change American citizens’ experience of flying home from abroad.
Now more than ever, consider purchasing travel insurance when you make travel plans. One key phrase to look for in coverage is “cancel for any reason” (CFAR). It may be offered as a rider for an additional fee. Many policies do not cover cancellations due to COVID-restrictions either at your destination or from your origination point (e.g., the US). Note that all cancellation insurance coverages have limitations and exclusions – even CFAR policies – so be sure to read your policy carefully.3
Remember, you may be able to afford a vacation and even abide by the COVID-related inconveniences but consider if you can afford the cost of becoming sick while abroad. We never think that will happen to us, but the pandemic makes it all the more probable. If you’d like help reviewing your insurance coverages to ensure you have financial security regardless of what happens in the future, please give us a call.
One alternative to European travel is to visit different areas of the U.S., where there are very few travel restrictions. It’s a good time to see places you’ve always wanted to visit, if only because tourist traffic is down compared to the usual non-pandemic crowds.
CDC guidance says it’s okay for fully vaccinated people to travel safely throughout the U.S. However, masks are required on all planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation – as well as inside their airports and stations. The agency recommends that unvaccinated people get a COVID test one to three days before their trip, and quarantine for seven days, and get tested again after the trip.4
However, be aware that different areas of the country do impose certain vaccination and masking requirements, with very little consistency from state to state and county to county. For example, in California and Hawaii, face masks are required for public indoor places regardless of vaccination status. In LA, the unvaccinated must self-isolate for 10 days upon the arrival. In Hawaii, the unvaccinated must produce a negative result of a specific type of COVID test.
Kansas has a range of limits based on certain circumstances, including the possibility of quarantining for 14 days upon entering the state. In New York, unvaccinated people age 2 and up are required to wear a face mask in public places and spaces where social distancing isn’t feasible. The vaccinated may be required to wear face coverings in certain venues and crowded settings as well.5
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1 Barry Neild. CNN. Sep. 3, 2021. “European countries reimpose bans on US tourists.” https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/eu-bans-on-us-tourists-sweden-netherlands-italy/index.html. Accessed Sep. 26, 2021.
2 Alison Fox. Travel & Leisure. Sep. 10, 2021. “France Becomes Latest European Country to Change Entry Policy for U.S. Travelers — What to Know.” https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/eu-countries-changing-travel-policies-us-tourists. Accessed Sep. 26, 2021.
3 Erica Lamberg and Amy Danise. Forbes. Sep. 23 2021. “How To Read The Fine Print Of Your Travel Insurance Policy.” https://www.forbes.com/advisor/travel-insurance/read-the-fine-print/. Accessed Sep. 26, 2021.
4 CDC. Aug. 25, 2021. “Domestic Travel During COVID-19.” https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html. Accessed Sep. 26, 2021.
5 United Air Lines. 2021. “See what’s open for travel.” https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/restrictions-map.html. Accessed Sep. 26, 2021.
Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications and Thrive Financial Services
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