Traveling to the United States: What documents do I need to travel to the United States this summer?

If you are planning a trip to the United States, you should know the list of documents that are required by the authorities before you set foot on the territory of North America. What was reduced in the past years to a visa and changed passport is now due to the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes covid-19. Here we share the details:

passport

One of the basic requirements for travel to the United States is a passport issued by the home country’s Ministry or Secretary of Foreign Affairs or Relations. All travelers without exception, unless they are naturalized US citizens, must have this document. The passport must be in good condition and valid for at least six months beyond the expected return date.

Visa to the United States of America

A visa issued by the US Consulate is required for every country to enter the United States, except for 39 countries in the world that provide a stay of no more than 90 days and only for tourism or business, including Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, among other countries. In the case of these countries, tourists only need to process an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).

Form I-94

Travelers entering the United States are required to fill out this form detailing their entry and exit to the country. On this sheet, tourists write their personal information, the house or hotel they are staying in, the number of days their stay will last, contact information, and if they carry more cash than allowed or certain foods. All travelers must complete this form, except for Canadian citizens, US citizens, and illegal immigrants.

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vaccination certificate

Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the mandatory requirement to enter the United States is to have a full vaccination schedule against SARS-CoV-2. And not only that, the vaccine must be approved by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), such as Janssen/J&J in a single dose; and Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covaxin, Covishield, BIBP/Sinopharm, Sinovac, and Novavax/Covovax, in a two-dose regimen. Vaccination certificates can be submitted in verifiable records (digital or paper), non-verifiable paper records (eg: CDC vaccination card), and non-verifiable digital records (mobile app without a QR code).

covid-19 test

Finally, US authorities are requesting a negative test result for covid-19. It is an antigen test or PCR (polymerase chain reaction); It is worth noting that the antibody test is not valid, as the mentioned test does not detect the virus in the body but it detects whether you have had COVID-19 in your body in the past. Under the official provision of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some travelers, such as Mexicans, need to have their antigen tests done at least 24 hours before their flight.

Other documents

In some cases, US authorities may require a Border Crossing Card or Border Crossing Card, which is a document that allows Mexican citizens to enter the United States and is equivalent to a B1/B2 tourist visa; Similarly, travelers can apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), which allows tourists to enter the United States for 90 days without the need for an approved visa, as in the case of nationals of the 39 countries who do not require this document. The Visa Waiver Program is similar to the ESTA in that it can be processed for a short period of time, specifically, for people who need to visit the country for courses, seminars or a very short stay.

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The pandemic does not stop

The outlook is not encouraging for travelers. Over the New Year’s Day weekend, US commercial airlines canceled 2,373 flights, and the number worldwide rose to more than 3,900, according to FlightAware.

The airlines that canceled the most flights were Southwest, JetBlue, Delta and American Airlines, each of which had more than 100 flights; Southwest has canceled 264 and shutdown JetBlue 16 percent of its business operations.

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) revealed that it expected an influx of only 10 million visitors from Friday, December 31, to Monday, January 3. In the past 10 days, it is estimated that more than 14,000 commercial flights have been cancelled.

As if that weren’t enough, for the first time in four months, more than 100,000 people have been hospitalized in the United States due to COVID-19 and its variants, including Omicron, which medical experts have classified as “highly contagious.” The hospitalization record was in January 2021, when more than 142,000 confirmed cases were recorded.

In the past weeks, infant infections have increased, and this scenario worries the international medical community. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, more than 170,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 from December 9-16 alone. That is a 28 percent increase in two weeks.

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