The U.S. government is lifting some of its international travel restrictions and enforcing a new air travel policy, effective 8 November 2021. The northern and southern border restrictions are set to be lifted as well.
Instead of continuing the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon entry in the U.S., the U.S. government is pushing for travel requirements to rely heavily on the traveller’s vaccination status.
As of the said date, foreign air travellers will be allowed to enter the U.S. as long as they can show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before boarding a plane to the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that accepted vaccines for travel to the U.S. include those approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and those listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO). These vaccines include:
• Janssen/J&J (FDA and WHO)
• Pfizer-BioNTech (FDA and WHO)
• Moderna (FDA and WHO)
• AstraZeneca (WHO)
• Covishield (WHO)
• BIBP/Sinopharm (WHO)
• Sinovac (WHO)
The new proclamation by the U.S. government, “A Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic”, will not apply to passengers already on aeroplanes at 12:01 AM ET on 8 November and will not affect the issuance of visas.
In line with the proclamation, the government will also require airlines to enforce new procedures. These include collecting contact information on passengers to help with contact tracing if necessary and verifying vaccine records and matching them against identity information.
Additionally, all fully vaccinated air travellers must still provide documentation of a pre-departure negative viral test taken within three days of travel to the U.S. before boarding.
On the other hand, nonimmigrants who are not fully vaccinated will not be allowed to enter the U.S. without proof of a negative viral test taken within one day of travel. Otherwise, their entry will be suspended, with certain exceptions.
Travellers exempt from the vaccination requirement include:
• children under 18 years of age
• individuals who participated in COVID-19 clinical trials
• individuals with severe allergic reactions to the vaccines
• individuals from countries where vaccines are not widely available
• individuals who have received emergency or humanitarian exceptions from the CDC
• crew members of airlines (or sea crew members) whose operators adhere to all CDC guidelines
• individuals in certain diplomatic-type visa status
• members of the U.S. Armed Forces, their spouses and children
• noncitizens whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretaries of State, Transportation, Homeland Security or their designees.
Travellers who can still enter the U.S. based on at least one exception must agree to be vaccinated within 60 days of arrival unless advised otherwise.
The new proclamation will help international students pursuing their course in the U.S. enter the country more easily, without the inconvenience of undergoing a two-week-long mandatory quarantine. It also urges more students to get vaccinated to protect their health and safety as they stay in the U.S.
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