a close up of a passport

The United States operates a pretty simple advisory system for international travel risks to each country, with four steps. The lower the score, the safer a destination is. One, it’s as safe as can be, two, just be aware of a few things, three, reconsider travel and four – do not travel.

In response to the covid-19 global pandemic, the United States made things even easier in regards to international travel, creating a “Level 4” alert for all international travel, warning people specifically not to go, wherever they planned to go. Furthermore, returning arrivals needed to quarantine for 14 days opon entry into the United States.

That alert, and CDC quarantine, are now gone, and many countries around the world are once again back to travel advisory levels which do not discourage travel. But even then, international travel isn’t in the cards for many Americans right now, whether they’d like it to be or not.

There’s only just over a handful of countries that will take American visitors right now, due to ongoing covid-19 transmission, and that’s not expected to end any time soon.

a close up of a passport

State Department Removes Travel Warning

The US State Department has dropped its blanket travel warning, which stated “do not travel” for all destinations. Many countries, which were previously marked as safe, now feature updated higher risk risk rankings due to ongoing health issues, while others have retained or earned low risk status for US travellers.

While the USA still bans visitors from Europe, despite far lower transmission rates in Europe, the move could be a significant step towards slowly, and most importantly, safely reopening international travel.

Now that specific advice doesn’t exist against travel entirely, new travel policies could be enacted which create protocols, like mandatory covid-19 testing before flight, to allow borders to reopen safely once again.

Currently, the few countries which do still allow US visitors, like the United Kingdom, require a 14 day quarantine on arrival from US flights, which kills off leisure trips. New bilateral agreements with added safety requirements could change that.

98125629 - overwater villas on the tropical lagoon, maldives islands

Where Can Americans Go Right Now?

Kenya, Tanzania, The Maldives, Turkey, Albania, a few Caribbean destinations, Mexico and that’s just about it. The European Union has yet to add the United States to its list of approved countries for international travel to Europe again, but a few countries have made exceptions.

Asia, with the exception of the Maldives and some intensive policies in Cambodia, has largely closed itself off to the world, let alone US visitors. Africa, with the exception of Kenya and Tanzania is pretty much off limits too.

For now, travel planning will have to replace most passport stamps, but with any luck, it’ll never be taken for granted again when it returns

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. It’s worth pointing out that US citizens can travel to EU countries if they have specific reasons, such as business, funerals, weddings. Worth checking the specific exclusions!

  2. American’s are currently traveling in Europe, regularly. Right now.

    I flew flew to Europe last week (Amsterdam) and then on to Kyiv.
    No one said a word at any borders.

    Heading to Bulgaria next week, then through another 9+ countries, before going to the UK.
    Will fly to US for 4 days, then back to Europe.

    I don’t quite understand why people think American’s aren’t welcome in Europe.
    I’m here. Plenty of Americans traveling here.

    1. Hello George, We are very interested in European travel, can you let us know what other 9 countries you are travelling to? We will be in the UK, and if possible, would like to travel to (any of) Spain, Germany, France and Greece. We understand that Croatia is open to Americans, so we will also be going there. Thank you for any insight, there is so much confusion on advice.

  3. I think equally important is as of 5 August the US CDC has removed the 14-day quarantine requirement when returning from international travel (including the UK as of 6 August).

    1. For now, yes. But it’s a large gesture toward a reopening of borders to areas like the UK in the future. Once not “all” travel is advised as bad, easier to gradually lift restrictions.

  4. I have a trip to Spain and Portugal the end of October, wondering if we will be able to leave the USA? Any suggestions?

    1. Leave, sure. You could always leave. Get into Spain or Portugal, that’s a different story. And return to the USA would be subject to being a permanent resident, citizen, or family member, with few exceptions.

  5. I am assuming Hong Kong is out of the question? My son has had radiation treatment for recurring cancer and he and his wife are expecting a baby, my first grandchild, in mid-Sept. Maybe I’m being too optimistic right now, or ridiculously hopeful.
    I live in Colorado.

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