Starting on November 8, foreign national air travelers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to fly to the United States, with only limited exceptions.
Fully vaccinated air travelers regardless of nationality (including U.S. citizens) will continue to be required to show documentation of a pre-departure negative viral test from a sample taken within three days of travel to the United States and eligible unvaccinated travelers now require a sample taken within one day of travel to the States.
This will be effective for passengers on planes that depart from their foreign destination at or after 12:01 AM Eastern Time on November 8.
Keep in mind that the only travelers who will be eligible to travel to the U.S. without vaccination are U.S. citizens,Permanent Residents and the small number of exempted unvaccinated foreign nationals.
The Biden Administration recently announced a new international air travel policy that is stringent, consistent across the globe, and guided by the advise of public health officials.
The CDC has determined that for the purposes of entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include those FDA approved or authorized, as well as vaccines with an emergency use listing (EUL) from the World Health Organization (WHO). See the CDC’s website for more details.
The U.S. Department of State also has further, up to date information about the new policy.
- Both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated should travel with proof of their vaccination status to provide to their airline prior to departure to the United States.
- That proof of vaccination should be a paper or digital record issued by an official source and should include the traveler’s name and date of birth, as well as the vaccine product and date(s) of administration for all doses the traveler received.
- For foreign nationals, proof of vaccination will be required – with very limited exceptions – prior to departure to the United States.
The exceptions for foreign nationals can be found on the CDC website:
If you are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you will NOT be allowed to board a flight to the United States, unless you meet the criteria for an exception under the Proclamation and CDC’s Order.
Categories of noncitizen nonimmigrants that meet the criteria for an exception under the Proclamation and CDC’s Order include:
- 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 U.S. Armed Forces or their spouses or children (under 18 years of age)
- Sea crew members traveling 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)
If you travel by air to the United States under one of these exceptions, you will be required to attest that you are excepted from the requirement to present Proof of Being Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19 based on one of the exceptions listed above. Based on the category of the exception, you may further be required to attest that:
You will be tested with a COVID-19 viral test 3–5 days after arrival in the United States, unless you have documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days;
You will self-quarantine for a full 7 days, even if the test result to the post-arrival viral test is negative, unless you have documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days; and
You will self-isolate if the result of the post-arrival test is positive or if you develop COVID-19 symptoms.
The list of countries with limited vaccine availability includes a total of 50 countries, the vast majority from Africa and the Middle East but also Afghanistan, Haiti and Myanmar.
This will make it virtually impossible to engage in the type of vaccine tourism that many (including myself) engaged in throughout this past year. Most developed countries now have a reliable supply of vaccines for those who want them, the remainder is on this list of 50 nations but then these aren’t really countries where people can easily afford a trip to the U.S. and secure a visa for such an endeavor.
While vaccination proof is not required for U.S. citizens and LPRs, fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and LPRs (and their dependents) will continue to be able to show documentation of a negative viral test from a sample taken up to three days before departure to the United States.
They must present proof of vaccination to qualify for the 3-day test window. U.S. citizens and LPRs who are unable to show that they are fully vaccinated will have to show documentation of a negative viral test taken no more than one day before departure.
Children under 18 are exempted from the vaccination requirement for foreign national travelers, given both the ineligibility of some younger children for vaccination, as well as the global variability in access to vaccination for older children who are eligible to be vaccinated.
However the following testing requirements apply to children:
- Children between the ages of 2 and 17 are required to take a pre-departure test.
- If a child is not fully vaccinated and traveling with a fully vaccinated adult, they can show proof of a negative viral test from a sample taken within three days before departure (consistent with the timeline for fully vaccinated adults).
- If an unvaccinated child is traveling alone or with unvaccinated adults, they will have to show proof of a negative viral test from a sample taken within one day of departure.
- While children under 2 years of age are excepted from the testing requirement, CDC recommends a pre-departure test for these children whenever possible.
What will actually change for U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents who want to go home?
Previously, all travelers were required to show a negative test result within three days of travel to the United States, regardless of vaccination status.
For those U.S. citizens and LPRs who can show they are fully vaccinated, that requirement remains the same – they have to show documentation of a negative test result from a sample taken within three days of travel. However, those U.S. citizens and LPRs who cannot demonstrate proof of full vaccination will now have to show documentation of a negative test from a sample taken within one day of departure.
If you’re planning any travel to the U.S. I suggest to keep yourself up to date through the State Department website.
These new regulations will kick in on November 8th, specifically for passengers on planes that depart from their foreign destination at or after 12:01 AM Eastern Time on November 8. Different rules apply to land borders.
It certainly put tough restrictions on unvaccinated travelers of either nationality even though U.S. citizens and LPR’s can “test themselves out” of this with a very recent test result (24hr).
I don’t like all these complicated rules and certainly don’t like the direction where this is going in terms of further restrictions and government monitoring but least for now borders are reopening again, making international travel possible.