COVID-19 Emergence of New Strain – U.S. Citizens Abroad
- The U.S. Department of State has no greater responsibility than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas. We are committed to proactively communicating travel advice to U.S. citizens amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including the most up-to-date information about travel restrictions imposed by foreign governments.
- The Department continues to strongly recommend U.S. citizens exercise caution when traveling abroad due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic. We are closely monitoring health and safety conditions around the globe, working in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Our ability to provide consular and other services may be hindered by local health conditions.
- U.S. citizens considering traveling abroad should review the entire Travel Advisory for their destination(s) on Travel.State.gov. The COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented risks for travelers, and our destination-specific advisories take into account the latest data and public health and safety analysis on COVID-related risks. As conditions evolve, we will regularly update our advice to U.S. travelers.
- We also urge those contemplating travel abroad to review CDC’s country specific recommendations and their overall guidance on international air travel. S. citizens currently abroad should closely monitor guidance from local public health and immigration authorities, as well as the CDC.
- We encourage U.S. citizens to stay connected with us via Travel.state.gov and through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/travelgov/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/TravelGov), and to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so they can receive important messages from their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, including timely Alerts and updates to Travel Advisories.
Q: Will the State Department bring home U.S. citizens stranded by new border closures, as you did during the early months of the pandemic?
A: The Department of State does not anticipate conducting a large scale repatriation of U.S. citizens affected by new travel restrictions in various countries around the world. If a U.S. citizen wishes to return to the United States, we urge them to take advantage of available commercial flights. U.S. citizens who do not return while commercial options exist should be prepared to remain in place for an extended period. All potential travelers should carefully consider the need to travel, and inform themselves of the risks prior to departure.
As we noted in our August 6, 2020 warning to U.S. travelers, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect countries differently. Challenges to any international travel at this time may include mandatory quarantines, travel restrictions, and closed borders. Foreign governments may implement restrictions with little notice, even in destinations that were previously low risk. If you choose to travel internationally, your trip may be severely disrupted, and it may be difficult to arrange travel back to the United States.
We have consistently informed U.S. citizens of the urgency of returning to the United States since this pandemic began, and we have provided unprecedented levels of assistance to facilitate these returns.
We remain committed to providing U.S. citizens abroad with all appropriate consular assistance when necessary.
Q: Does the State Department plan to raise the Travel Advisory for the United Kingdom, given the emergence of a new strain there? Will you be banning travel to the United Kingdom for U.S. citizens?
A: The Travel Advisory for the United Kingdom is currently a Level 3 – Reconsider Travel due to risks associated with COVID-19. We have no changes to the Advisory to announce at this time.
Q: What measures do you recommend U.S. citizens who do travel take to protect themselves?
A: Beyond following the requirements and recommendations of local health services overseas, we urge U.S. citizens to review the CDC’s travel testing and self-quarantine recommendations for U.S. citizens.
Q: What should U.S. citizens do if they cannot travel back to the U.S. due to a positive COVID test and they need financial support?
A: U.S. citizens stranded overseas should refer to the “Emergency Financial Assistance for U.S. Citizens Abroad,” section on our website (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/emergencies/emergency-financial-assistance.html), which includes information on how to contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate and request assistance.