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'Travel' seems almost an arcane term nowadays. The sheer thought of actually getting on an airplane seems absurd. Yet the vaccine rollouts offer a light at the end of the tunnel. Few countries in the world have vaccination programs as rapid as the UK, and already relaxations of the rules are scheduled to take place. One country which matches the UK’s speed and efficiency in this regard is the USA. Unsurprisingly, many are therefore looking to the USA as their prime travel destination once travel abroad is permitted again.
USA eager to open
There are more countries that have managed to get a firm grip on the coronavirus. Vietnam, for example, made it through the crisis with less than 40 deaths. If official numbers are to be believed, neighbouring Cambodia did even better, and New Zealand has performed perhaps best of all. Yet despite these admirable numbers, none of these countries are eager to welcome foreign visitors. The USA differs in that regard. Rumours are abound that the US government is looking into cancelling the European travel ban that is currently in place. This travel ban prevents travellers from the EU and the United Kingdom from entering the country. Nothing concrete has been said yet, but sources close to the US government say that a tentative date of mid-May is being suggested. The USA is clearly looking to capitalize on the upcoming summer holidays.
Travel boom expected in summer
Travel experts say that a travel “boom” is in the making for this summer. Lockdown after lockdown have made people anxious to stretch their legs, and once the government gives the go-ahead, many will instantly try and book their trip. Certain countries, such as Egypt or Kenya (pictured below), have already opened their borders for foreign tourists. Tourists must adhere to strict rules in order to be admitted, yet for many travellers this is an acceptable price to pay to finally enjoy a proper holiday again.
However, medical experts warn of potential virus mutations that could spoil the fun. While vaccinations are progressing well, overall infection numbers continue to be worrisome. Countries are warned not to open their borders until a proper grade of immunization has been reached.
USA travel: visa or ESTA
A reason why the United States is a popular destination for British travellers is its visa system. Or rather, its lack of one for British travellers. Citizens of the United Kingdom do not need a visa to travel to the USA. They can instead apply for a so-called ESTA, or Electronic System for Travel Authorisation. As the name implies, an ESTA is a digital travel permit which can be applied for online rather than at the embassy. In order to submit an ESTA application, the online form has to be filled in, which generally takes between five and ten minutes. An ESTA is far cheaper than a visa, and the approval time is far shorter as well. An ESTA is generally approved the same day, in some cases even within twenty minutes.
ESTAs are valid for two years, and allow you to stay in the USA for up to 90 days per visit. This means that you can go on a summer holiday to the USA, leave, and go back for another holiday next year with the same ESTA.
The US government’s clear intentions to drop the European travel ban and the country’s easy to navigate visa system has the USA in prime position to take full advantage of the upcoming travel boom.
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