In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, the White House issued Presidential Proclamations barring the entry of travelers from various parts of the world impacted by the coronavirus. Since then, additional Presidential Proclamations have been issued barring the admission of travelers arriving from 33 countries including China, the United Kingdom and Ireland, most of Europe, Brazil, India, Iran and South Africa. While necessary to slow the spread of the virus, these travel restrictions have imposed serious burdens on individuals and families and have disrupted commerce for millions of business travelers.
On October 13, 2021, the White House announced plans to rescind restrictions based on country of departure with a new set of restrictions based primarily on vaccination status. After the effective date, which is expected to be November 8, 2021, all adult travelers to the U.S., including those arriving from China, Iran, the Schengen Zone (Europe), the U.K., Ireland, Brazil, South Africa and India will instead be required to produce evidence to show that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
The Administration’s plans include tightening pre-departure testing requirements, adding a post-arrival testing requirement for unvaccinated travelers, and requiring airlines to collect comprehensive contact information for every passenger coming to the U.S. and to provide that information promptly to CDC if necessary for contact tracing.
In addition to lifting restrictions on travelers from China, India, Europe, etc., as of early November 2021, fully vaccinated travelers from Canada and Mexico will be allowed to enter the U.S. for non-essential purposes. The rules will include limited exceptions to the vaccination requirement for children; clinical trial participants and humanitarian exceptions for people traveling for an important reason and who lack access to vaccination in a timely manner. Individuals who are exempted from the vaccine requirement may be required to be vaccinated upon arrival.
The Administration will also be making additional recommendations to stop the spread of COVID-19, including: 1) continuing its mask mandate for federal workers through January 18, 2022; 2) expanding pre-departure and post-arrival testing requirements; and 3) requiring American citizens and residents who are not vaccinated to test within a day of boarding a plane rather than three days. For additional information about vaccinations for non-U.S. travelers to the U.S., contact us. To see a news story on the change of policy, click here.