The White House announced on September 20, 2021 that from “early November” 2021, the Biden administration would remove restrictions on international travelers seeking to travel to the United States, provided they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This policy change will apply to all international travelers, including those from countries currently covered by a regional travel ban. The policy change will bring substantial relief to international travelers seeking to enter the United States, including many business immigration visa applicants who currently face temporary suspensions for new visas and a patchwork of Difficult National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) at U.S. Consulates around the world.
Since January 2020, the United States has implemented a series of travel restrictions impacting travelers from 33 countries around the world, including Brazil, China, India, Iran, Schengen countries in Europe, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Foreign nationals who have been physically present in these countries in the 14 days prior to their intended trip to the United States must be able to obtain an NIE based on specific criteria identified by the United States Department of State, or show that ‘they are also exempt from these restrictions. .
This latest move to lift COVID-19-related travel restrictions for fully vaccinated people traveling to the United States is a major step forward and should bring welcome relief to people who have navigated the ever-changing landscape of NIE requirements. US State Department. , as well as long waits in US consulates. While details of this new plan have yet to be released, fully vaccinated travelers should expect that they are likely to be required to provide full proof of vaccination before boarding flights to the states. United, as well as negative results from COVID-19 tests carried out within three days of travel. In addition, travelers will need to comply with enhanced contact tracing measures and masking requirements. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will release a list of accepted vaccines and a contact tracing order for airlines to collect contact information from travelers while in the United States. Notably, the recently announced policy change should only apply to air transport. Entry requirements for travelers arriving from Canada and Mexico by land are not subject to change. With this change to its COVID-19 response, the United States joins a growing number of countries easing quarantine measures for fully vaccinated travelers, including Canada, Mexico, UK, and several countries of the European Union.
© 2021, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, PC, All rights reserved.Revue nationale de droit, volume XI, number 265