The White House has released a Fact Sheet with additional detail on requirements for air travel to the U.S., clarifying several points regarding the new requirement for foreign travelers to the U.S. to be fully vaccinated (starting November 8th).
The administration also released the following related documents on implementing these requirements:
- A Presidential Proclamation to Advance the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic;
- A Department of State announcement regarding safely resuming travel by vaccine requirement and rescission of travel restrictions
- Three Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Orders on vaccination, testing, and contact tracing; and
- Technical instructions to provide implementation details to the airlines and their passengers.
Importantly to individuals who have been locked outside the U.S. because they have not been able to obtain visas—often despite being eligible for them, including for work-related visas for travel to the U.S.—the Department of State announcement specifically noted that "Pursuant to President Biden's proclamation, as of November 8, the Department can process visa applications for individuals physically present in the affected countries," including Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
However, a caveat to this statement also notes that this "does not necessarily mean that your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate is able to immediately schedule all affected applicants for visa interviews," and directs would-be applicants to the embassy/consulate website in their jurisdiction, for information on what services they are offering at this time and instructions on how to apply for a nonimmigrant visa. With what we have seen regarding the suspension of services in jurisdictions around the world over the past 19 months, we expect there to continue to be significant unavailability of visa appointments at many U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide, at least through the end of 2021.
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