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What should you know about the easing of COVID-19 travel restrictions for certain foreign nationals?

by | Sep 22, 2021 | FAQ, Immigration

The White House announced plans to ease travel restrictions on certain international travelers coming into the United States beginning in early November 2021.

The plan will rescind the current geographic COVID-19 related travel bans implemented for individuals from Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the U.K., and will instead move forward with solutions to deter the spread of COVID-19 based on individuals, rather than restrictions placed on entire countries or regions.

In place of these bans, all international travelers will be required to prove that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of boarding a flight to the United States. The CDC will provide information regarding which vaccines will be accepted and additional mitigation steps..

Additional recommendations to stop the spread of COVID-19 are expected to include the following:

  1. Continuing the mask mandate through January 18, 2022;
  2. Expanding pre-departure and post-arrival testing requirements; and
  3. Implanting a contact tracing order for airlines.

This is welcome news for many foreign nationals who have been unable to travel or who have had to travel via third countries due to travel restriction. However, keep in mind the following:

  1. This easing is not in place yet and additional changes might occur and
  2. This easing does not affect the consular closures or delays. Thus, consular appointment and visa issuance delays are expected to continue.

To learn more about international travel restrictions affecting all travels as a result of the above easing, see below.

International Travel Announcement

As a result of the easing of some international travel restrictions the United States will be putting in place strict protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from passengers flying internationally into the United States.

Starting in November, for all international air travelers coming to the United States, the following will apply:

  • Foreign nationals traveling to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and to show proof of vaccination prior to boarding an airplane;
  • The current requirement for everyone to show proof of a negative test taken within 3 days of boarding a flight will remain in place for all fully vaccinated travelers.
  • CDC will continue to strongly recommend against air travel by Americans who are not fully vaccinated; however, all unvaccinated travelers who return to the United States and are not fully vaccinated will be required to, prior to boarding an airplane to:
    • Provide proof of a negative test result taken within one day of their departure;
    • Provide proof that they have purchased a viral test to be taken after arrival.
  • CDC will also issue a Contact Tracing Order that will require airlines to collect comprehensive contact information for every passenger coming to the United States and to provide that information promptly to CDC upon request, to follow up with travelers who have been exposed to COVID-19 variants or other pathogens.
  • These requirements will apply globally.

We will provide additional practical updates, as they become available.  



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