The U.S. Department of State on Thursday lifted its Global Travel Advisory, which went into effect on March 19 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, once again opening up the possibility of Americans traveling abroad.
“The Department of State has no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens. We are committed to providing U.S. citizens with clear, timely, and reliable information about health and safety conditions overseas, so they can make informed travel decision,” said Carl Risch, Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs.
“Earlier today, and in close coordination with the CDC, the State department lifted the global Level 4 health advisory, and has returned to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice, with levels from 1 to 4 depending on country-specific conditions. The CDC has similarly removed its Level 3 global COVID pandemic notice.”
The State Department’s decision to return to issuing country-specific advisories is designed to better reflect the health and safety conditions of specific destinations, Risch said.
“This important change reflects the reality that health and safety conditions are improving in some countries, while potentially deteriorating in others,” said Risch.
There are currently 21 countries with Level 4: Do Not Travel Advisories, issued Aug. 6, and dozens more under the Level 3: Reconsider Travel warning. There are only seven countries under Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution, including Fiji, French Polynesia, New Zealand, and Thailand.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to poses significant risks for travelers, and our destination-specific advisories take into account the latest data on public health and analysis of COVID-related risks…Global conditions remain highly dynamic, and we continue to recommend U.S. citizen exercise caution when traveling abroad, due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.”
While the news is good news for U.S. travelers looking to go abroad, consumers still have to consider rules and regulations governing destinations. While some countries are welcoming Americans, some are still requiring a quarantine and others are outright rejecting U.S. travelers.
The European Union, for instance, extended its travel ban on Americans on Aug. 3 as part of its biweekly travel update (the E.U. will reconsider U.S. citizens, and others, every two weeks). Jamaica, on the other hand, has been successfully managing a reopening of tourism that includes U.S. citizens.