Immigration and Nationality Law | Warshaw Burstein LLP | United States to Lift International Travel Bans, Require Proof of Vaccination for Entry
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United States to Lift International Travel Bans, Require Proof of Vaccination for Entry

After nearly two years of the pandemic and nearly 6 billion vaccine shots worldwide, the United States will soon be lifting its geographic COVID-19 related travel bans. Beginning in November 2021, individuals from China, Iran, the Schengen Area, U.K., Ireland, Brazil, South Africa and India will no longer be banned from entering the U.S., and instead will be allowed into the country upon meeting certain individualized safety criteria.

Upon implementation of the new policy, international travelers will be required to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination status and show that they have received a negative COVID-19 test within three days of boarding a flight to the U.S.

The purpose of the policy shift is to discontinue blanket restrictions based on entire countries or regions, and instead implement a more individual-based solution. This strategy aims to deter the spread of COVID-19 while promoting travel for those who do not pose a health and safety risk to the United States.

While the new requirements will generally apply to all international air travelers, there are very limited exceptions for children and COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants, and humanitarian exceptions for people traveling for an important reason and who lack access to vaccination in a timely manner. Those who are granted an exception will be required to become vaccinated upon arrival.

Notwithstanding the ease in travel policy, the CDC will continue to strongly recommend against air travel by Americans who are not fully vaccinated. All American resident- and citizen-travelers who return to the United States from abroad who are not fully vaccinated will be required to provide proof of: (1) a negative COVID-19 test taken within one day of their departure; and (2) the purchase of a viral test to be taken by the traveler upon arrival in the U.S.

The CDC is still considering which vaccines will be accepted under the revised travel policy.

Please also note that the current mask mandate for air travel remains in effect until January 18, 2022. We will post additional information regarding updates to these policies as they are issued.