The United States is set to overhaul its travel restrictions Nov. 8, ushering in a new system that makes U.S. tourism possible for millions of fully vaccinated foreign nationals. 

“The US’ new travel policy that requires vaccination for foreign national travelers to the United States will begin on Nov 8,” Kevin MunozThe White House’s assistant press secretary stated this in a Tweet Friday. The announcement and the date apply to land and international travel. Public health is the guiding principle of this policy. It’s strict and consistent.

The new travel system essentially drops the travel ban that has prevented most inbound travel from dozens of countries – including most European Union member states, the United Kingdom and China – since early 2020. Meanwhile, travelers from countries that were not part of the ban will face more stringent entry requirements with a new vaccine mandate.

► ‘You feel lonely and left out’:This group of fully-vaccinated travellers wants to visit the US. These travelers may not be permitted to enter the country.

► Reuniting in the US:Mexico and Canada have announced new policies regarding land borders that will allow travelers to plan their next visit to the USA.

For foreign tourists, there are specific entry requirements

To fly to the United States, foreign nationals will have to show proof of their vaccination status. They will also need to show a pre-departure negative COVID test taken no more than three days ahead of boarding, according to a White House official not authorized to speak on the record. 

International visitors who cross land borders with Canada and Mexico or by passenger ferry for non-essential reasons will also be required to be vaccinated and show vaccination proof, the White House official continued. The White House official stated that foreign nationals traveling to landbound countries for essential or non-essential reasons must be fully vaccinated by January.

► Travel to US:In November, foreign travelers who have received the COVID-19 vaccinations from FDA and WHO are allowed to enter the USA.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and World Health Organization will be accepted for air travel. Officials from the White House stated that similar policies will be applied to land travel.

The WHO has approved the following vaccines for use in an emergency situation as of Friday:  

  • Moderna
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • 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.

The new travel system also adds more stringent testing requirements for unvaccinated U.S. travelers.

Vaccinated Americans will still need to show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken no more than three days before departure. Unvaccinated passengers will still need to be tested one day prior to departure, and again on arrival. To board an international flight to the United States, Americans don’t need to present proof of vaccination. 

Important date

Friday’s announcement sheds light on the changes in travel policy that were announced first Sept. 20, and now more. The government had initially said the new policy would go into place in “early November,” leaving foreign nationals questioning when to make or adjust travel plans

Additional guidance from the CDC and other federal agencies is expected ahead of Nov. 8. 

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Both tourists and trade organizations welcomed Friday’s announcement.

“The date is critically important for planning – for airlines, for travel-supported businesses, and for millions of travelers worldwide who will now advance plans to visit the United States once again,” U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement Friday. International visitors opening will give a boost to the economy, and speed up the return to work in travel related fields that have been lost because of restrictions on travel.

Nicholas Calio, president and CEO of airline industry trade group Airlines for America, said international travel has already seen an increase in ticket sales over the past weeks. 

“(We) are eager to begin safely reuniting the countless families, friends and colleagues who have not seen each other in nearly two years, if not longer,” Calio said in a Friday statement.  

Many international travelers have lived apart from their families and friends in America for almost two years. They took to social media when the news broke. 

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


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