Post-Covid Travel Inspiration: USA

Travelling to the USA later this year is becoming increasingly likely. Make sure to read up which permit you need, the ESTA or the visa.


Surprisingly, the USA is increasingly looking to be one of the first countries in the world to allow international flight traffic once more. Planning a trip to the USA is no longer a pipedream, but be sure to read up on which travel permit to apply for, the visa or the ESTA.

Travelling to the USA possible?

The mere thought of a holiday to the USA would have been outrageous only weeks ago. The country still leads the world in overall covid-19 infections and deaths. However, the rate at which new cases are appearing has dropped considerably compared to last year. Strict regulations are part of the reason for this, but the main reason is the USA’s stellar vaccination campaign. Millions upon millions of people are being vaccinated each month, and while the USA leads the world in covid-19 infections and deaths, it is likewise the leader in raw vaccination numbers.

The breakout success of the vaccination campaign and other anti-covid measures have led US president Joe Biden to state that the 4th of July, Independence Day in the USA, would not just celebrate America’s independence from the British, but it would also celebrate the country’s independence and freedom from the coronavirus. In other words, the Biden administration hopes to have the virus firmly under control by July this year.

Sources close to the president have gone a step further, suggesting that international flight traffic might be allowed into the country near the end of May this year. This means that the current travel ban targeting the EU, as well as the United Kingdom, would no longer apply, and holidays could potentially become a possibility again. No official confirmation on this has been given yet, so only time will tell if these rumours prove true.

Vaccination passport

One of the ways in which international travel would become possible again is through a so-called “vaccination passport”. This document would contain information on whether a person has been vaccinated against covid or if they were recently infected and thus developed immunity that way. The US government has already hinted that it may pursue such a passport, and it is certainly not the only country to do so. The UK has made it clear they have similar plans, and the same applies to the EU. The vaccination passport appears to be the universally agreed upon measure to assure health safety once the borders open again.

USA travel: ESTA or visa?

Planning a holiday is generally a fun exercise in itself: figuring our which sights and activities to see and enjoy, packing the right clothes, even finding lodgings and flight tickets can be a fun test of your financial savviness. But there is one thing most travellers tend to look up to, and that’s applying for a visa. Certainly, some countries, such as India, can have extremely cumbersome visa application procedures. Getting a US visa can likewise be a time-consuming affair, requiring multiple visits to the local embassy to have your fingerprints taken.

Luckily, travellers from the EU and the United Kingdom can instead apply for an ESTA travel permit. This is because these countries are part of America’s Visa Waiver Program, a system which allows citizens from these countries to travel to the USA without a visa. By going through the ESTA system, they save themselves time and money.

An ESTA can be applied for by filling in the online application form and truthfully answering all the safety questions regarding your background. If everything checks out, the ESTA is generally approved the same day. It can be used as soon as you receive the e-mail confirmation. An ESTA is valid for two years, and allows you to stay in the country for up to 90 days per visit.

The ESTA system is a major part why so many travellers from Europe enjoy holidaying in the USA. Since everything can be arranged online, no visit to the embassy is needed.

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