U.S. to ease travel restrictions amid COVID surge

Starting in early November, the United States will allow fully vaccinated international visitors into the U.S.

By Kenneth Tran
Published September 20, 2021 12:16PM (EDT)
Passengers wear face masks to protect against the spread of the Coronavirus as they arrive on a flight from Asia at Los Angeles International Airport, California, on January 29, 2020. (Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images)
Passengers wear face masks to protect against the spread of the Coronavirus as they arrive on a flight from Asia at Los Angeles International Airport, California, on January 29, 2020. (Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images)

Foreign nationals who are flying into the U.S. must show proof of vaccination and also test negative for COVID-19 within three days of departure to the U.S., according to a "new international air travel system" that drops travel restrictions for visiting foreign nationals starting in early November.

The new travel system comes after much frustration from European governments. Last week, Stavros Lambrinidis, European Union ambassador to the U.S., wrote on Twitter, "fully vaccinated, pre-flight-tested Europeans could today visit the US in full safety, but are still kept out by the outdated #travelban." 

 White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients specified that the new system will not only apply to Europe, but also China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, and India.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also play a role in the new travel system, detailing what vaccines will qualify and defining who is fully vaccinated. 

For unvaccinated Americans traveling back to the U.S., there will be "stricter testing requirements," said Zients. Unvaccinated Americans must test negative one day prior to departure and test negative again after returning. 


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The new travel system will only apply to airline travel, leaving the land border policies with Canada and Mexico intact, meaning tourists from those countries are still barred from entering the U.S.

Currently, the measures include no new guidance for domestic air travel in the U.S., but Zients has said new guidance is not off the table and the Biden administration has been considering it.


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Kenneth Tran

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