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U.S. Opens Borders to E.U. Citizens, Complicated Rules Apply

Going to America always felt good. It definitely does now that the United States is reopening its borders to European visitors for the first time in one and a half years. A long list of rules has to be followed though.

Berlin, November 7th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — Taking off into the sky over Europe is great, especially when you know the next stop is the United States. After almst 19 months, the U.S. is opening up its borders. Tourists, business travelers and almost everyone may enter. Of course, the enthusiasm will decrease a little once those who want to take a trip across the Atlantic Ocean notice they have to adhere to rather complicated rules.

Single Shot

First of all, full vaccinations are required for everyone from 18 years of age. All adult flight passengers who intend to enter the U.S. need to prove they were immunized with a vaccine approved by both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Of course, those include the vaccines used in Germany, including those made by Biontech/Pfizer, Modern and Johnson & Johnson.

Residents of Germany can prove they are fully vaccinated by showing their ‘Vaccination Passport’ booklet or their digital vaccination certificate in the ‘CovPass’ app. Presumably, printed vaccination certificates are being accepted as well. The second Corona vaccination shot needs to be administered at least two weeks prior to the trip to the States. In the case of Johnson & Johnson, the single shot counts.

Tests Required

Oh yes, it does get more complicated: In spite of having been vaccinated, Europeans who travel to the U.S. need to be tested, meaning they need an antigen or PCR test with a negative result which should not be older than 72 hours. This applies to everyone, including children from 2 years of age.

There is more: All foreign nationals who enter the United States at John F. Kennedy Airport, in Newark, Dulles or at any other airport or port need to leave their contact data. In case a Corona outbreak is registered on any incoming flight or ship, the American authorities need to be able to contact affected passengers and put them in quarantine immediately.

High Risk

After gaining weight at American diners, after taking some stunning countryside trips and enjoying exciting stays in New York City, L.A., the D.C., Boston or anywhere, tourists usually return to their home country. The same applies to business travelers after they are done talking to their business partners. This is when things get complicated yet again.

From the perspective of Germany, the United States of America is a ‘High Risk Region’. Of course, this has implications. Individuals who return to Germany need to fill out an online form called ‘Digital Registration on Entry‘ in advance, before they even bord the plane. Persons from 12 years of age also have to prove they are fully vaccinated (‘CovPass’, printed vaccination certificate or German ‘Vaccination Passport’) or cured. Or they can show a negative Corona test result. It can be either a PCR test which may not be older than 72 hours, or an antigen test which was conducted up to 48 hours before arrival.

All American rules mentioned above apply from Monday, November 8th, 2021. The European ones have been in place for months and apply to persons who enter or reenter Germany from any ‘High Risk Area’. Bon voyage.

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