Biden Administration ends U.S. travel ban on November 8, 2021 and requires proof of COVID vaccination for all adult non-US citizen nonimmigrant foreign nationals to travel to USA. As of the date of this article the new policy does not apply to land border crossings and individuals arriving at seaports.
On October 25, 2021, the White House announced that starting on November 8, 2021, the U.S. travel restrictions end as they relate to entry into the United States of persons physically present in Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom and instead, the US will impose COVID vaccination requirements for international travelers.
Who can travel to USA and what are the requirements?
With limited exceptions, starting on November 8, 2021, in order to enter the United States, all adult foreign national travelers who are nonimmigrants (not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, green card holder or person travelling to the United States on an immigrant visa) travelling by air from any country will be required to prove that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 3 days of boarding a flight to the United States.
In other words, if you are a non-U.S. citizen and non-U.S. immigrant and are not fully vaccinated, you will not be allowed to enter the United States. The policy applies for connecting flights through the United States as well.
This means that as of November 8, 2021, foreign nationals arriving from countries that were previously subject to the travel ban — Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom — or from any other country, including from countries that were not subject to the US travel ban, will be allowed to enter the United States only if they comply with the policy above, subject to limited exceptions discussed below.
Foreign nationals (noncitizen nonimmigrants travelling to the US on a temporary basis) who are not fully vaccinated, may be allowed to enter the US if they fall within one of the following exceptions:
- Crew members of an airline or other aircraft operator if such crew members or operators adhere to all industry standard protocols for the prevention of COVID-19, as set forth in relevant guidance for crew member health issued by the CDC or by the Federal Aviation Administration
- Persons on diplomatic or official foreign government travel or immediate family member of an official (A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 visas), E-1 (as an employee of TECRO or TECO or the employee’s immediate family members), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6 (or seeking to enter as a nonimmigrant in one of those NATO classifications)
- Persons travelling within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement or who is traveling pursuant to United States legal obligation (as evidenced by a letter of invitation from the United Nations or other documentation showing the purpose of such travel)
- Children under 18 years of age
- Persons with documented medical contraindications to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine
- Participants in certain COVID-19 vaccine trials
- Persons issued a humanitarian or emergency exception
- Persons with valid visas, excluding B-1 (business) or B-2 (tourism) visas, who are citizens of a foreign country with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability. For the CDC updated list of countries with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability access the link provided in this paragraph.
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces or their spouses or children (under 18 years of age)
- Sea crew members traveling with C-1 and D nonimmigrant visa
- Persons whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, Secretary of Transportation, or Secretary of Homeland Security (or their designees)
People are considered “fully vaccinated” by the CDC two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine. Mixed-dose vaccinations will be accepted. The vaccines accepted for entry into the U.S. are all FDA approved and authorized vaccines (Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer-BioNTech), as well as vaccines that have an Emergency Use Listing (EUL) from the WHO (Oxford-AstraZeneca/Covishield, Sinopharm and Sinovac).
If you recently recovered from COVID-19, you may travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 instead of a negative test — for example, you can provide positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the departure date from a foreign country and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel.
If you are not fully vaccinated and allowed to travel to the United States by air through an exception, you are required to test and provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 1 day of boarding a flight to the United States. However, you are not required to get a test 3 to 5 days after travel.
If you are not fully vaccinated and allowed to travel to the United States by air through an exception and you intend to stay in the United States 60 days or longer, then you must become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 within 60 days of arriving in the United States or as soon as medically appropriate, unless you have a medical contraindication or are too young to be vaccinated.
What about children?
Children younger than 18 are exempt from the vaccination requirement, but are subject to the pre-departure testing requirement.
Children between the ages of 2 and 17 who are not fully vaccinated can travel to the United States with a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test taken no more than 3 days prior to departure if traveling accompanied by fully vaccinated parents or guardians. If traveling unaccompanied or if one or more of the parents or guardians accompanying the child is not fully vaccinated, the child must present a negative pre-departure COVID test 1 day before departure.
Children under the age of 2 do not need to test.
What about Americans?
All vaccinated travelers regardless of their citizenship, including U.S. citizens, US nationals, Green Card holders or persons entering the US on immigrant visas, are required to provide proof of negative COVID pre-departure test 3 days before boarding the flight to the United States.
Unvaccinated US citizens, green card holders (legal permanent residents), persons entering the US on an immigrant visa and any unvaccinated foreign nationals exempt from the vaccination requirement must provide a negative test taken within 1 day of traveling.
Please keep in mind that the end of the U.S. travel ban does not mean that the local U.S. embassy or consulate is able to immediately schedule all affected applicants for visa interviews.
For any other information, contact our business and immigration lawyers in Miami, Florida USA or schedule an appointment here.
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