The Biden administration will drop travel restrictions for vaccinated individuals from November 8, reopening the US to foreign nationals from places including the UK and Europe, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The White House had previously announced plans to end the pandemic-related travel restrictions first imposed by the Trump administration at some stage in November, without giving a firm date.
Air travellers will have to show proof of having been double jabbed and show a negative coronavirus test taken in the previous three days, according to the plans that were first laid out in September.
People who have been in the UK, Ireland, the Schengen area, China, India, Iran, South Africa or Brazil in the previous 14 days have been banned from entering the US since last year, unless they are a US resident, green card holder or have a specific exemption.
Donald Trump rescinded the travel bans on his last day in office, but they were immediately reinstated by his successor in the White House, Joe Biden.
The US will also reopen its land borders with Canada and Mexico to vaccinated travellers, ending restrictions put in place at the start of the pandemic and easing what was becoming a big strain in Biden’s relationship with America’s closest neighbours.
A firm date for the restart of transatlantic travel will be welcomed by the airline and travel industries, which have been badly hit by the near total shutdown of some of their most lucrative routes. Flights between the UK and North America were worth $9bn a year in revenue to UK and US airlines before the pandemic.