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Proof of Vaccination Replaces Bans on U.S. International Travel
By Jan Pederson
Monday brought news for international travelers booking airfare to the U.S., with COVID-19 policy changes on the approaching horizon. According to a White House press briefing, starting in early November, adult foreign nationals travelling to the United States will be required to show proof of full vaccination in addition to a negative COVID test taken no more than 3 days prior to departure.
Vaccinated Americans can fly with proof of a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of their return flight. Unvaccinated Americans who travel abroad, including children, will be subject to the current precautionary standards upon their return. They will need to provide a negative COVID test taken within one day of their flight, and provide proof of purchase of a viral test to be taken after arrival.
The CDC is to announce which vaccines will be accepted. As of now, it is likely to accept any vaccine approved by the World Health Organization for emergency use. In addition, the CDC is to issue a contract tracing order, requiring passenger contact information to be collected by airlines and provided to the CDC upon request, allowing follow-up procedures if there is a known exposure.
The new protocol is to override the travel bans currently held on 33 countries. Under these bans established through a series of Presidential Proclamations, travelers cannot be present in the specified countries, including China, India, Iran, the U.K. and Brazil, among others, within 14 days of their planned travel to the U.S. The bans exclude U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, as well as their immediate family members, military personnel and government invitees. National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) allow entrance based on specified and approved circumstances to those which the proclamations apply, though NIEs are subject to change and under Department of State discretion.
This is a step towards re-normalizing worldwide travel. It is an encouraging act for international businesses and job opportunities, and those seeking foreign employment.
Further details on the new travel protocol will be released prior to their early November implementation. For now, it seems the changes will not apply to land borders. Questions or concerns about proper travel to the U.S. for permanent residents or visa holders in the time before these new precautions are enacted can be sent to our Immigration Law Group.
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