In just a few weeks, the United States’ new international travel policies will become effective.
In an announcement Friday, the White House said the United States will formally reopen its borders on November 8 to fully vaccinated foreign travelers arriving by air and land.
Despite still being some details to work on, the official implementation date will bring much relief to many would-be travelers after they have been in limbo since September 20, when plans were announced to implement a nationwide new air travel system in November.
Earlier this week, it was announced that the US would begin granting visas to vaccinated visitors travelling to places like Canada and Mexico for tourism and other non-essential travel on November 8.
Who are allowed to travel?
The new policies allow foreign nationals who have fully been vaccinated into the United States, replacing bans and restrictions that have been in effect since the start of the pandemic.
Thus Chinese, Iranians, European travellers from Schengen zone, British, Republic of Irish, Brazilian, South African and Indian nationals will later be allowed under the same policy that applies to all international travellers
On November 8, the vaccination requirement will take effect.
What vaccines are accepted for travelling to US?
In an alert sent to airlines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that all vaccines approved and authorized by the FDA, as well as vaccines with an Emergency Use Listing (EUL) from the World Health Organization, would be accepted for importation into the United States.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which is currently used in Europe and Canada, will be accepted, rather than the Sputnik V vaccine developed in Russia, which has not been approved by the FDA or WHO.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines vaccination as complete two weeks after the second dose in a two-dose series, or after one dose.
What about Americans who have not been vaccinated?
Although unvaccinated Americans can still enter the United States, stricter testing requirements will apply to air travel.
Jeff Zients, the White House’s Covid-19 response coordinator, said that they will face “stiffer testing requirements,” including testing one day before they fly to the United States, and another when they return, Zients said.
It is unclear who is affected by the Mexican and Canadian land border announcement on October 12, but the vaccination requirement applies to all “inbound foreign nationals.”
Unvaccinated children: what about them?
According to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, the more stringent air travel rules that apply to unvaccinated Americans “at this point” would also apply to children.
There is uncertainty about whether foreign children and American children will face the same entry requirements.
Are Covid tests required?
Air travelers who have been fully vaccinated are still required to undergo testing for Covid-19 within three days of departing for the United States, as per the current testing policy.
U.S. citizens who have not been vaccinated will be required to take a Covid-19 test within a day of departing their flight and again after arrival.
At land borders, no testing is required.
Which documents must be provided?
The White House will publish details about acceptable proofs of vaccination soon, a spokesman said Friday.
“Vaccinated individuals crossing at land borders for nonessential reasons should give proof of vaccination to CBP (Customs and Border Protection) officers upon request,” said the official.
Airlines already collect the testing information of air travelers because all travelers entering the US are required to present negative test results before boarding.