President Joe Biden is expected to allow UK to US travel to resume within weeks under a shake-up of coronavirus rules
Image: Getty Images)
The White House announced that vaccinated passengers from the European Union and the UK will be able to enter the country from November.
It marks the end of an 18-month blanket ban imposed by Donald Trump at the height of the Covid pandemic that has kept tourists, business people and separated families out.
Before the Covid pandemic, more than 4m Brits flew to the US every year but during travel restrictions only a fraction of those trips have gone ahead.
White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said: “Most importantly, foreign nationals flying to the U.S. will be required to be fully vaccinated.”
Downing Street sources had said the PM would make an “impassioned” push to the US to allow double jabbed Brits to travel directly into America.
But the move appeared to take Boris Johnson by surprise after he warned reporters not to “hold their breath” that US borders would be reopened any time soon.
On his flight out to the US, where he will meet Mr Biden at the White House during a diplomatic visit, the Prime Minister played down hopes he could persuade him to lift the ban.
He said: “I don’t think we’re necessarily going to crack it this week. I’ve got to warn you I don’t think this is going to be necessarily fixed this week.
“We are going to try but I’m told that I wouldn’t necessarily hold your breath.”
Mr Biden had pledged to ease restrictions when he travelled to the UK for the G7 summit in June – but his failure to do so had left many British travellers frustrated.
The policy could eventually apply to the citizens of all countries with high vaccination rates wishing to travel to the US.
Currently only American nationals, green card holders and those with national interest exemptions are permitted entry if they have been in the UK or EU in the previous 14 days.