March 11th, 2020 – The World Shuts Down
In March 2020, the United States, as well as many other countries, closed its borders.
WHO, World Health Organization declared a worldwide pandemic in March 11th, 2020 and travel bans and restrictions were announced to prevent the widespread of the Covid-19 virus.
That was year and a half ago.
Many have not seen their family and friends across the ocean this entire time. Children have been born and elderly have passed away. Christenings, weddings, funerals, and graduations have happened and many of the guests have participated via video.
Europe started opening their borders during 2021.
When Europe started opening its borders, it was a glimpse of hope that soon, soon, we will be able to have our family visit. But, while the Covid-19 variants are still spreading across the states, is it just a dream that the boarders might open soon.
In an article published in EuroNews, Brussels is recommending EU countries to close their borders from the US, again. Partial reasoning for this is that Europe has passed the US in vaccinations.
- 57% of Europeans are fully vaccinated
- 52% of Americans are fully vaccinated
Partial reason for the recommendation could also be, that US did not reciprocate to the opening of the European borders. Europe welcomed fully vaccinated Americans; America said no thank you.
United States made it to Europe’s safe country list in June 2021 and Americans were allowed to travel and enjoy leisure travel in Europe. Unfortunately, the country has not been able to keep its Covid-19 cases under the agreed control numbers: 75 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants and therefore United States was removed from the safe country list.
The removal means that there could be temporary travel ban to specific EU countries, or other restrictions like testing and quarantining. However, this is only a recommendation to the EU countries. Each country is allowed to do their own decision regarding letting in Americans or not.
There has also been pressure towards the United States to open their border to the Europeans. However, the White House is sticking to its restrictions and there is no date in sight when this might change. The spread of the Delta variant is causing fear, especially in those states where the vaccination numbers are still low. However, the economic situation in the entire world is putting its own pressure for countries to open up, despite the fears we might be facing.
What is the current situation?
The current situation is that we do not know when the United States will open its border. According to the latest news briefing, Jen Psaki said that the travel restrictions are continued until further notice. The borders might be opened up for Canada and Mexico in the upcoming weeks, but will stay closed for:
- All Europe
- South Africa
Only citizens, permanent residents (green card holders), and certain visa holders (e.g. some diplomatic visas) are allowed to enter United States.
If you are thinking about traveling to the United States from Finland, and you want to check for the latest travel related situation, great place to reach out to is the US Embassy is Helsinki. They will be able to answer any questions you might have relating travel to US from Finland.
We can only hope that borders open by Christmas and maybe, just maybe, we could have our families and loved ones visit.