After 20 months, the United States removed entry bans for travelers from 33 countries around the world, including 26 countries in the Schengen area, Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Many described November 8th as “historic,” as lovers, families and friends finally gathered at airports across the United States. The scenes were emotional, filled with hugs, kisses and tears.
Despite the long queues at airports, previously warned by TheSchengen.com, the majority of travelers claim to be happy with the way the procedures went, and share their experiences on social networks.
“Everything became smooth” – the travelers say
Hans van der Mosel, a member of the Facebook group called “Couples Separated by Travel Bans,” shared the experience of departing from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with other members of the group, TheSchengen.com reports.
“Check in was great in Amsterdam. You must show vaccination papers, and don’t forget to disclose your passenger to the CDC. You will receive a stamp on it, so you can just go up with it instead of showing all your cards again. I had a quick antigen test and was completely fine,” he wrote.
Bengt Hard, Twitter user who is part of the #LoveIsNotTourism community, had a different kind of journey. He had to take a connecting flight from Sweden to the UK and then travel to the US.
My experience so far: Requested specifically for vaccination and ESTA. There was no hard copy of the ESTA, but it looked good. They didn’t check my VeriFly site. I will soon be boarding my flight to London.”
Hello Heathrow! No gate until an hour from now. pic.twitter.com/QObYjICbxk
– Bengt Hard 🇸🇪❤️🇺🇸 (BengtHard) November 8, 2021
Upon arriving in the US, he tweeted again, saying that although his flight was delayed, everything went smoothly.
A Twitter user under the therapist @linelaumann also shared her experience, noting that the trip went well, without any problems.
“So far, the flight has been pretty painless, no problem checking in the day before and no problems at the airport (as long as you have all the required paperwork, they will ask!),” she tweeted.
Other travelers had similar experiences, although those who noted the long queues and waiting times were not few.
“I’ve never seen that kind of line…like an invasion. Let’s see what comes next,” said one traveler.
Another passenger under a British Airways port complained of flight delays and hours of queues.
“I spent three hours in Heathrow for a one-hour flight,” he said.
Couples, families and friends reunited after more than 20 months
With tears in their eyes, the couples, families and friends finally reunited after being separated for over 20 months now.
British Airways shares some of the most emotional photos of the day, in which people, including children, are seen holding emotional messages, hugging and kissing,
One of the children was seen holding a piece of paper that read, “Do I look older? 730 days missed you! Aunt Jill, Uncle Mark,” while holding another sign that read “We Missed You! Two Years.”
Other stories have been shared across social media, including that of Kate’s family, a Twitter user who, after 25 hours of waking up and 920 days apart, was finally able to meet the rest of her family.
25 hours waking up and 37 minutes from our final destination and my parents after 920 days away ❤️😭 #LoveIsNotTourism This was my first airport reunion 1, 4 years since seeing my aunt and cousins! pic.twitter.com/SWEcInnh0h
– Kate 🇬🇧❤️🇺🇸 (@kate_1268) November 9, 2021
Some travelers are still confused about travel requirements
Despite the reopening of borders, some travelers who booked flights from Europe to the United States later this month or year are still confused about the rules.
One lady, from the “Couples Separated by Travel Bans” Facebook group, claims she’s still confused about terminology when it comes to exam requirements.
“I will travel to the United States on November 18. I have received the vaccination. Should the test be taken no later than 72 hours before departure? Or not before 72 hours?” asks group member Svetlana Strogova,
She further notes that she is still unaware of where the test is required, in Riga, which is her city of departure, or in Copenhagen via the airport from which she is passing, or in Los Angeles, when she arrives.
According to the US Department of Homeland Security, airlines are responsible for checking passengers’ documents before they board a plane. Passengers are required to be tested for COVID-19 no more than three days before their flight departs. The test can be PCR or antigen. Children under the age of two are not subject to this requirement.
Those who have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days do not need to be tested for COVID-19.
In accordance with the vaccination rules, the Department of Homeland Security has made it clear that the following are considered fully immune and are therefore allowed to enter the country from the Schengen Area, Ireland and the United Kingdom:
14 days after a single dose of vaccine (Janssen) 14 days after the second dose of a tolerable two-dose series (Moderna, Pfizer/Bio-N-Tec, AstraZeneca, (including Kovishield, Sinopharm, Sinovac and Cofaxine)
The state also recognizes fully vaccinated travelers who have been vaccinated with a “mix-and-match” combination of acceptable COVID-19 vaccines. However, dosing should be done for at least 17 days.
The United States first announced that it would reopen the borders on September 20. Later, more details were revealed, including the reopening date, which was November 8. It left hundreds of thousands of families, friends and spouses separated.