• A new U.S. travel system will be launched on November 8.
  • Foreign travelers who have been vaccinated will need to present proof and pass a COVID-19 test
  • Unvaccinated U.S. travellers will also be subject to the new system’s stricter requirements.

The United States is about to make it much easier for vaccinated international travelers to visit.  

The White House announced Friday that a new air travel system will go into effect Nov. 8, allowing entry for fully vaccinated foreign tourists. The system is set to launch more than 20 months after the U.S. began imposing travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

The move by the White House will essentially have the U.S. drop its travel ban on dozens of countries while also making entry more challenging for the unvaccinated. This new system allows foreign nationals to enter the United States only if they have received approved vaccines from the World Health Organization. It would also require more testing for Americans who are not vaccinated.

Here’s what we know about the new travel requirements so far.

Which are the requirements to enter for foreign citizens?

To board an aircraft flying to the United States, foreign travelers who have been vaccinated will be required to produce proof of their full vaccination and a negative pre-departure coronavirus test within 3 days. 

Airlines will collect personal information, including a phone number and email, from all U.S.-bound travelers for contact tracing. Airlines are required to keep the information on hand for 30 days so health officials can follow up with travelers who have potentially been exposed to COVID-19.

While masking is required, there won’t be a quarantine mandate.

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The change will make entering the U.S. possible for travelers coming from countries currently listed on the U.S. travel ban, which prohibits entry for travelers who have been in any of the regions within the past 14 days. The travel bans went into effect in early 2020 and include:

  • China
  • Iran
  • United Kingdom
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Brazil
  • South Africa
  • India
  • European Schengen (Austria and Belgium, Czech Republic. Denmark, Estonia. Finland. France. Germany. Greece. Hungary. Iceland. Italy. Latvia. Liechtenstein. Lithuania. Luxembourg. Malta. Netherlands. Norway. Poland. Portugal. Slovakia. Slovenia. Spain. Sweden. Switzerland. Monaco. San Marino. Vatican City.

The ban applies to all international travelers who arrive from other countries. Nov. 8th will bring stricter entry requirements. Currently, the U.S. only asks international air passengers to get tested within the three days prior to their flight to the U.S. and show either the negative test result or proof of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding. 

What about the land borders with Mexico and Canada?

Foreign nationals who arrive by passenger ferry or land will be subject to new travel regulations.

For non-essential reasons, such as visiting family or friends, fully vaccinated foreigners can now cross land border for tourism and other purposes. Entry rules along the border will change again in early January, with all travelers – including those traveling for essential purposes – required to show proof of full vaccination. 

Foreign travelers will be able to show vaccination status in either a paper or digital format, and U.S. Customers and Border Protection will spot-check travelers’ vaccination documents. For entry into the country, foreign citizens will need to have proper travel documentation.  

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What vaccines are accepted by the US for travel?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that air travel will now be permitted for vaccines approved for emergency purposes by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and World Health Organization. White House officials expect the CDC to approve the same vaccines for travelers entering the U.S. by land or ferry.  

The FDA has authorized three COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use during the pandemic: Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer-BioNTech, the last of which has received the FDA’s full stamp of approval.

WHO-approved vaccines are:

  • Johnson and Johnson
  • Moderna
  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Oxford-AstraZeneca/Covishield 
  • Sinopharm
  • Sinovac

Friday was confirmed by the CDC that it will accept a mixture-and match approach to immunizations. Travelers who have any combination of FDA- or WHO-approved vaccines will be considered fully vaccinated.

However, the agency is yet to provide information regarding how U.S. citizens with foreign-resident vaccines can be admitted into the U.S. 

Aside from that, U.S. officials are not suggesting that COVID-19 recovery can be substituted for proof of vaccination. 

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The new rules have an impact on children. 

A White House official who was not authorized to discuss the matter told USA TODAY that children will be generally exempted from vaccine requirements.

Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, stated last month that foreign citizens’ unvaccinated children would have to be tested.

To fly to the United States, any passenger 2 and older must have a positive coronavirus test. 

How do Americans get into the country?

New travel regulations have increased the testing requirements for Americans who are not vaccinated.

Beginning Nov. 8, all Americans who are not vaccinated will be required to undergo a blood test before they leave the country and again when they arrive in the United States. 

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For Americans who have been vaccinated, entry requirements won’t change. However, they will need to prove proof that they had taken a negative coronavirus vaccine test no later than 3 days prior to departure. 

Americans will not need to be fully vaccinated to board international flights to the U.S.

Follow Bailey Schulz (USA TODAY reporter) on Twitter @bailey_schulz 

Source: USAToday.com

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