Travel restrictions

COVID-19 travel restrictions will be lifted for some vaccinated foreign travelers


On October 25, 2021, the Biden administration announced further details on changes to the COVID-19 travel restrictions currently in place. Starting November 8, 2021 (12:01 a.m. Eastern Time), regional COVID-19 restrictions on foreign nationals travel to the United States will be replaced with a vaccine-based system. All non-immigrants traveling by air to the United States will be required to show an acceptable COVID-19 vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test, with certain exceptions based, for example, on age or for medical or humanitarian reasons. This new presidential proclamation applies to non-immigrant travelers aboard a flight to the United States departing after November 8, 2021, 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time.

All land or sea travel to the United States will also require vaccinations from January 2022. Until then, essential land or sea travel is permitted without vaccination.

Current entry requirements

Until the restrictions are lifted, current US entry requirements remain in place for foreign travelers who were present in China, Iran, the Schengen area, United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa and India within 14 days of the entry attempt. Foreign travelers from those countries that are subject to previous presidential proclamations are required to obtain a National Interest Exception (NIE) to apply for a US visa and enter the United States. These restrictions will be replaced by a new requirement (for air travel by non-immigrants from all country) to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination and a negative COVID test performed within three days of boarding a flight to the United States.

Exceptions

The CDC has provided advice on several exceptions to the vaccination requirement for foreign nationals. These exceptions include children under 18, people with documented medical contraindications to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, and adults from countries where COVID-19 vaccination is limited (where less than 10 percent of the population is total population of the country have been fully vaccinated, as long as entry is not as a B-1 Business Visitor or B-2 Pleasure Visitor). The CDC has published a list of under-vaccinated countries on its website which will be updated every 90 days and will also periodically review other exceptions.

Rules for U.S. citizens and LPRs

U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents can enter even if they are not vaccinated, but unvaccinated travelers must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within one day of boarding a flight (with a accommodation for people who have documented their recovery from COVID-19 in the past 90 days).

North America entry

Regarding entry into the United States by land or ferry from Canada or Mexico in November, only fully vaccinated foreign nationals will be allowed to enter for not essential reasons such as tourism, while not vaccinated travelers coming for essential reasons, such as employment or education, will be allowed to enter the United States until the end of 2021. From January 2022, all foreign nationals coming by land or ferry will need to be vaccinated (but not a COVID-19 test).

Visa

Unlike the restrictions currently in place, US consular posts cannot use this presidential proclamation to deny visas. Even so, visa applicants should always expect delays in the visa appointments available.


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