The Biden Administration was working towards notifying the end of the travel bans, replacing them with vaccination requirements instead for foreign visitors (or aliens, as they call them!) The repeal of the travel ban was finally signed by the President of the United States overnight (India time), set to go into effect November 8, 2021, onwards. There is more colour to the way the implementation will work here in the details published. So let’s go over it again.
The United States has ended blanket travel bans on November 8, 2021
The White House has published a new proclamation, notifying the end of the travel bans and the implementation of a new testing and vaccination requirement for arrivals in the United States effective November 8, 2021. This takes care of the earlier Presidential action under Order 212(f), which will be repealed at the same time. The earlier ban prevented non-Americans present in Brazil, China, India, Schengen Zone, South Africa, the United Kingdom, amongst other countries in the past 14 days before travel, from not arriving in the USA.
Visitors to the United States will be required to be fully-vaccinated
Effective November 8, 2021, the United States will require all visitors to be vaccinated instead. Here is how the CDC defines complete vaccination:
- Two weeks (14 days) after your dose of an accepted single-dose COVID-19 vaccine; or
- Two weeks (14 days) after your second dose of an accepted 2-dose series COVID-19 vaccine; or
- Two weeks (14 days) after you received the entire series of an active (not placebo) COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S.-based AstraZeneca or Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trials; or
- Two weeks (14 days) after you received two doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart.
The accepted vaccines will be enlisted as per those approved or authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration or Vaccines Listed for Emergency Use (EUL) by the World Health Organization (WHO). The following vaccines are covered for now:
This leaves out those vaccinated by the Russian Sputnik vaccine.
Visitors to the United States will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test result.
Not just that, all travellers to the United States will still be required to provide a negative coronavirus test result. For vaccinated travellers, this will be within the timeline of three days before departure. For unvaccinated travellers, the timeline will be to provide results for the test taken within one day. There will be no quarantine on arrival. Remember, the United States also accepts rapid antigen tests, so this should not be a problem to get a report even within a day before travel.
However, as per the CDC, if you recently recovered from COVID-19, you may instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).
The new move will also affect unvaccinated American citizens who will now need to test within one day of departure, unlike the three days approved of them earlier.
Exceptions for Children visiting the United States
Children under the age of 18 will be exempt from the United States’ requirements for vaccination to travel into the country. They just need to present a negative Covid-19 test result instead.
Other Exceptions to the vaccine requirements
There are certain categories of noncitizens that meet the criteria for an exception under the Proclamation and CDC’s Order. These people will not be required to present proof of vaccination, but will still have to comply with the testing requirement of a test within one day of travel:
- Persons on diplomatic or official foreign government 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
- Members of the US Armed Forces or their spouses or children (under 18 years of age)
- Sea crew members travelling with to a 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)
Unlike earlier noted, however, the testing requirements being rolled out now will be the same for all countries, rather than just the exceptions being made for travel from India, etc.
The United States has changed its travel restrictions effective November 8, 2021, eliminating a country by country ban for vaccinated travellers worldwide. A notified list of vaccines has been provided for this purpose. Children under 18 will be allowed to travel without vaccination for the time being. New testing requirements will mean those travelling to the USA and still the unvaccinated (who are US citizens or qualify for the exemption mentioned above) will have to provide a negative result within 1-day of travel.
What do you think of the US travel bans being repealed and new vaccination/testing requirements instituted instead?
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