President Joe Biden has outlined new rules for foreign travelers entering the country when U.S. borders reopen on Nov. 8, providing clarity on what will be needed for international travel.
The plan moves away from the previous U.S. ban on flights from most foreign countries, which was implemented by former president Donald Trump in March 2020 and extended by Biden when he took office in January this year.
In a proclamation signed by Biden on Monday, the U.S. will implement a system that requires most incoming visitors to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Airlines operating flights into the country will be required to check passengers' vaccination status before they can board the plane. They will also have to keep personal information for contact tracing on file for 30 days so health officials can follow up with anyone who may have been exposed to the virus.
To prove vaccination status, travelers must provide evidence of a jab from an "official source" having been received at least two weeks prior to departure. This includes any vaccines approved by U.S. health regulators.
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Vaccinated travelers will also be required to have a negative Covid-19 test result within three days of departure. The CDC said this must be a "viral test that could be either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test," such as a PCR or LAMP test.
The Biden administration said exceptions for unvaccinated foreign travelers would be rare but would be made for children under the age of 18 and those arriving from countries with less than a 10% vaccination rate due to lack of availability as well as those with medical conditions that prevent them from receiving vaccines.
Unvaccinated travelers, whether foreign or American, will be required to provide a negative Covid-19 result from a test taken within one day of departure.
The proclamation states that unvaccinated travelers may be subject to further restrictions and requirements subject to recommendations by the CDC, including mask wearing and post-arrival testing.
The new rules apply to all countries that were included in the previous travel ban, including the U.K., Republic of Ireland, the European Schengen area, China, India, Iran, Brazil and South Africa. Travelers arriving from outside of these countries will face more stringent entry requirements, according to the proclamation.
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The U.S. Travel Association, which has lobbied for a safe reopening of U.S. borders for months, issued the following statement, noting that details around the general opening of land borders between the U.S., Canada and Mexico had yet to be addressed by the administration.
"Today's guidance detailing how international air travelers can prepare for resumed travel to the United States starting November 8 provides much-needed clarity for planning. We are grateful this additional detail has been made available as we move to reopening to fully vaccinated international travelers, and we look forward to similar guidance in coming days for those qualified visitors who plan to enter via our northern and southern land borders, as well."
Source: Business Travel News