The coronavirus (Covid-19) and the consequences for your ESTA USA
The United States is one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus (Covid-19), and the number of infections continues to rise. Here you can read what consequences this has for travelling to the USA and what this means for your ESTA.
Coronavirus in the U.S.
On 21 January 2020, the first coronavirus infection was identified. The coronavirus is not yet under control in the United States. By now, the U.S. has over two million confirmed infections and over a hundred thousand casualties.
What impact does this have on my trip to the U.S.?
Starting 13 March 2020, travel limitations apply for travellers from Schengen countries, as well as the United Kingdom and Ireland. All travellers that in the 14 days preceding their planned journey have been to a risk area, will be denied entry to the United States, regardless of if they possess an ESTA.
The travel ban from the United States applies to travellers that have been to any of these countries in the last 14 days: The Netherlands, Belgium, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Iran, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Czech-Republic, United Kingdom (mainland), Sweden and Switzerland.
Transferring in the U.S.
Travellers from the above-mentioned countries can, however, still make a transfer or transit in the U.S. by presenting a ticket to their final destination, provided they have not been in their home country in the past two weeks. The normal ESTA can be used for this, which can be applied for on this website.
If you have not been to a risk area in the past 14 days, you can apply for an ESTA without limitations and travel to the United States.Apply for an ESTA now
No work visa, ESTA still possible
The government of president Donald Trump has decided to stop issuing new work visas to seasonal workers, au pairs, tech workers and other foreign workers until the end of this year. This has the desired goal of allowing domestic workers to keep their jobs, and get the economy going again after the coronavirus crisis.
This limitation only applied to people wanting to work in the United States, which is different from a business trip. It is currently still possible to apply for an ESTA USA.
When will I be allowed into the U.S.again?
It is currently not clear when travellers with an ESTA will be granted unlimited access to the United States again. Considering the rapidly rising numbers, the coronavirus measures will most likely not be loosened, and it will not be possible to travel to the United States for a holiday or a business trip for the time being. On this page, we will keep you up to date on the most recent developments surrounding the coronavirus and travelling to the U.S.
I am already in the U.S. what do I do?
You are not required to return home right away if you are currently in the U.S. You are advised to follow the guidelines of the health office, the WHO and the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). Make sure you remain informed about recent developments, as the measures in place differ from state to state.
It is wise to at least observe the following advices:
- Get an extension for your ESTA on time
- Regularly wash your hands for 20 seconds with water and soap.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as much as possible
- Avoid social contact and maintain a distance of at least 2 meters
- Wear a mask in public
- Cover your face if you cough or sneeze
- Try to pick up your food as much as possible at drive-throughs, take-away restaurants or stores
Maximum length of stay with ESTA temporarily extendable
Normally speaking, it is not possible to extend an ESTA travel authorisation. Due to the coronavirus crisis, an exception has been made regarding this. If you are unable to leave the United States within the maximum length of stay of the ESTA, an extension of 30 days can be granted. This can be applied for at the immigration service, for example at an airport or border post.
Do I get a refund if I don’t use my ESTA?
Once an ESTA application has been submitted and has been processed by the U.S. immigration service, it is no longer possible to cancel the application. Even if you do not make use of your ESTA (for example, because of a travel ban), the American government will not refund the costs under any circumstances. You can try to claim your damages at your travel or cancellation insurance. Even though it is currently not possible to travel to the United States, the validity of the ESTA remains unchanged for now. An ESTA is valid for two years after issuing, unless your passport expires earlier. Considering the lengthy validity period, you can safely apply for your ESTA for when the travel ban of the United States gets lifted.
Disclaimer: Due to the rapid development of the coronavirus and the policy of the U.S. government, we cannot guarantee that all information on this page is current and complete. Stay informed about the current state of affairs by checking this page regularly, but also by contacting your airline or travel agency and both the British and U.S. governments.