On Monday, September 20, 2021, the White House announced that the Biden administration plans to ease travel restrictions on all international travelers coming into the United States. Beginning in early November 2021, the United States will rescind the current geographic COVID-19 travel bans implemented for individuals from China, Iran, the Schengen Area, U.K., Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, and India. Instead, the United States will require all international travelers to prove that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of boarding a flight to the United States. The CDC will provide information regarding which vaccines will be accepted closer to the implementation of these new regulations.

There will be limited exceptions such as for children; COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants; and humanitarian exceptions for people traveling for an important reason and who lack access to a vaccination in a timely manner. However, individuals who are exempted from the vaccine requirement may be required to be vaccinated upon arrival.

The administration will also be making additional recommendations to stop the spread of COVID-19, which include:

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

The 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:

  • Provide proof of a negative test result taken within one day of their departure; and
  • Provide proof that they have purchased a viral test to be taken after arrival.

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