The US kicked off the pandemic with one of the most relaxed border approaches of any country, before introducing a strict travel test requirement, which remains one of the most prohibitive in the world.
Even as risk-averse countries such as Singapore began to abandon pre-travel testing, the US maintained its policy of requiring all US-bound international travelers to submit a supervised test result prior to boarding. According to reports, this is set to end definitively on Sunday, June 12.
Here’s everything you need to know if you’re traveling before June 12, and what that changes for the travel industry at large. Basically, the Americans are back.
Both inbound demand for travel to the United States and demand from Americans wanting to leave the country are expected to explode overnight.
US drops travel test requirement
Travel to the US has lagged behind other leading tourism nations, and fewer Americans are going abroad on international travel despite rising overall travel demand.
A Covid-19 testing policy that requires all travelers bound for or returning to the United States to submit a Covid-19 test result taken within 1 day of departure still scares people.
No US resident wants to be stranded abroad and risk losing their job, and no state-bound tourist wants to find out that their big trip to the United States has to be canceled the day before departure.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the US international testing policy will officially come to an end this year. Sunday, June 12, 2022 at 12:01 pm while the US relaxes travel restrictions.
For many, it may not come anytime soon. Airlines are incredibly eager to restart many important international connections, but the risk caused by the tests has suppressed demand.
There may be some initial confusion, but flights departing the United States on or after Sunday, June 12 should not require any pre-flight testing. This will certainly be true for fully vaccinated visitors.
Today’s message is simple: if you’re traveling to the US from June 12 onwards, you don’t need to take the test. The risks of being stranded abroad or having to cancel a US-bound trip in the hours before departure should disappear with immediate effect.
The U.S. Lost Its Pace With the Travel Benefit
Throughout the pandemic, Asia has been among the most conservative and risk-averse in terms of border policies. Who would have thought the US would be the last stand?
Virtually all Asian tourist hotspots, with the exception of Japan, now have less restrictive entry policies than the United States. That will change when the US changes course on the 12th.
You can enter Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia without any testing, and the same can be said for travel across most of Europe, Africa, South America, the Middle East and beyond.
We will update this story with more details as they become available. If you are traveling between now and Sunday, take the test as normal, in line with current restrictions. If you are departing from 12:01 pm EST on the 12th, you must be free and clean. Just don’t forget your ESTA!