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U.S. Entry Requirements for Travelers

Travel requirements and restrictions may change at any time. Legalpad will update this page as new guidance is available, but we recommend checking with your local consulate for the latest information.

U.S. Embassy and Consulate information can be found here.

 

[Last Updated: May 18, 2022]

What You Need To Know

For Land Travel: 

Non-U.S. travelers entering the United States via land ports of entry and ferry terminals at the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination upon request and must continue to:

  • verbally attest to their COVID-19 vaccination status;
  • provide, upon request, proof of a CDC-approved COVID-19 vaccination, as outlined on the CDC website;
  • present a valid Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant document, such as a valid passport, Trusted Traveler Program card, or Enhanced Tribal Card; and,
  • be prepared to present any other relevant documents requested by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer during a border inspection.

These requirements do not apply to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, or U.S. nationals.

COVID-19 testing is not required to enter the United States via a land port of entry or ferry terminal.

More information can be found here.

 

For Air Travel:

Non-U.S. Citizens and Non-U.S. Immigrants arriving from a foreign country to the U.S. must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination, present a negative COVID-19 test within 1 day of travel or provide a documentation of recovery from COVID-19, and provide contact information within 72 hours to airlines before departing flights to the U.S.

More information on COVID-19 vaccination requirements can be found here.

More information on COVID-19 testing can be found here.

 

U.S. Citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, or U.S. Nationals are NOT subject to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, but must present a negative COVID-19 test within 1 day of travel or provide a documentation of recovery from COVID-19, and provide contact information within 72 hours to airlines before departing flights to the U.S.

More information can be found here.

 

All Air Passengers ages 2 or older, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, must present a negative COVID-19 test within 1 day of travel or documentation of recovery, and provide contact information within 72 hours to airlines before departing flights to the U.S.

More information on COVID-19 testing and documentation of recovery can be found here.

More information on the requirement to provide contact information can be found here.

FAQs

What is Considered Fully Vaccinated in the United States?

You are Considered Fully Vaccinated with these Accepted COVID-19 Vaccines:

  • 2 weeks (14 days) after your dose of an accepted single-dose vaccine:
    • Janssen/J&J
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after your second dose of an accepted 2-dose series:
    • Pfizer-BioNTech
    • Moderna
    • AstraZeneca
    • Covaxin
    • Covishield
    • BIBP/Sinopharm
    • Sinovac
    • Novavax/Covovax
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after you received the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine (not placebo) in a clinical trial:
    • Medicago
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after you received 2 doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart (see 2 weeks (14 days) after your second dose of an accepted 2-dose series above).

Do I Need to Present a Physical Vaccination Card?

No. Acceptable Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination documentation includes verifiable and non-verifiable digital or paper records. All forms of proof of COVID-19 vaccination must have:

  • Full name and one other personal identifier, such as date of birth or passport number, that matches your passport or travel documents,
  • Name of official source issuing the record, such as public health or government agency, or authorized  vaccine provider, and
  • Vaccine manufacturer and date(s) of vaccination

How Does the Vaccination Requirement Impact Work Visa Applications?

You do not need to comply with the vaccination requirements for air travel to apply and obtain a work visa. However, you must comply with the vaccination requirements or qualify for an exemption to travel to the U.S. by air.

Expect further delays in visa appointments. The existing backlog is expected to increase after the new travel requirements go into effect on November 8. Plan early!

I am a Fully Vaccinated U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident. What Travel Requirements are in Place?

Fully vaccinated U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents are required to show proof of an acceptable negative COVID-19 test taken within 1 day of boarding a flight bound for the U.S., including Canada and Mexico.

  • If you recently recovered from COVID-19, you may instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).

Information on acceptable viral test and documentation requirements can be found here.

I am a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Residency and NOT Fully Vaccinated. What Travel Requirements are in Place?

You will need to provide proof of an acceptable negative COVID-19 test taken with 1 day of boarding a flight bound for the U.S., including Canada and Mexico.

  • If you recently recovered from COVID-19, you may instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).

Information on acceptable viral test and documentation requirements can be found here.

What are the Requirements for Land Border Travel Between the U.S. and Canada and the U.S. and Mexico?

Non-U.S. travelers entering the United States via land ports of entry and ferry terminals at the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination upon request and must continue to:

  • verbally attest to their COVID-19 vaccination status;
  • provide, upon request, proof of a CDC-approved COVID-19 vaccination, as outlined on the CDC website;
  • present a valid Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant document, such as a valid passport, Trusted Traveler Program card, or Enhanced Tribal Card; and,
  • be prepared to present any other relevant documents requested by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer during a border inspection.

These requirements do not apply to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, or U.S. nationals.

COVID-19 testing is not required to enter the United States via a land port of entry or ferry terminal.

More information can be found here.

Where can I Find More Information?

Where can I Find Previous Updates?

PRIOR UPDATES:

April 21, 2022 Update

Traveling to the U.S. from Canada or Mexico? Make sure you’re vaccinated! The Department of Homeland Security has extended the requirements of any travelers from Canada or Mexico, who enter the U.S. via ground transport or ferry, must be vaccinated. U.S. citizens and people who are not able to get the vaccine are exempt from this requirement. This requirement is in place indefinitely. More information can be found here

March 8, 2022 Update

Certain travelers from Russia and Belarus are exempt from the US Covid-19 testing requirement: US Citizens, Permanent Residents and Foreign Nationals who carry valid U.S. immigration visas will no longer have to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test to enter the U.S., provided they were physically present in Russia or Belarus on or before February 28. The waiver of testing requirements is ongoing until April 1. The CDC’s announcement can be found here.

December 24, 2021 Update

US to lift travel restrictions on countries from Southern Africa: The ‘physical presence’ ban placed on Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe on November 27 due to the threat of the Omicron virus will be lifted on December 31 by the White House. Travelers from countries in Southern Africa will still be subject to the United State’s COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements. More information can be found here.

November 8, 2021 Update

Covaxin added to list of approved vaccines: Earlier this week, the CDC added Covaxin to the list of approved vaccines the United States will accept under air and land entry policies that took effect on November 8. The World Health Organization (WHO) listed Covaxin for emergency use last week. The United States is accepting vaccinations that the WHO has listed for emergency use or approved by authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). More information on vaccines that are acceptable can be found here.

October 26, 2021 Update

The White House is expected to roll out new travel policies in early November that will impact U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and foreign travelers. Some of the details are still being worked out, but here’s what we know right now.

Be sure to check back for more information as new details emerge.

A presidential proclamation issued on October 25 and effective November 8 eases current travel restrictions to the U.S.  Read the proclamation.

Important: The following update is for air travel only. Land travel across U.S. borders will have different requirements. Those details are expected to be announced soon. Check back here for more details.

For air travel:

Proof of vaccination will be required for foreign nationals from anywhere, including air travel to the U.S. from Mexico and Canada. The vaccination requirement is in addition to the existing requirements to present a negative COVID test within 72 hours of travel. U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) are not subject to the vaccination requirement but face stricter testing protocols.

If you are exempt from the vaccination requirement and are not vaccinated, the new measures require proof of a negative COVID test within 24 hours of travel. For example, if you are a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident AND you are not vaccinated, you will need to get a COVID test within 24 hours of travel.

Who qualifies for an exemption and will not be subject to the vaccination requirement?

  • Children under the age of 18
  • Individuals with documentation for a medical exemption
  • Those who have participated in COVID clinical trials
  • Certain members of the U.S. military and their immediate family members
  • Certain diplomatic or U.N. travel
  • If you’re from an area with low vaccination availability – nationals from certain countries with a vaccination rate of 10% or less will be exempt. View the list of countries. 
  • Emergencies and humanitarian exemptions: this exemption will only be granted in very limited circumstances and must be approved by the CDC. Get more information.

If you are exempt from the vaccination requirement you must still follow the testing requirements:

  • Proof of a negative COVID test within 24 hours of travel or proof of recovery from COVID.  This requirement includes children ages 2-17 unless the child is traveling with a fully vaccinated parent. If the child is between 2-17 and the parent is vaccinated, both the child and parent need a test within 72 hours instead.
  • If you are staying in the U.S. for more than 60 days, you will be required to obtain the COVID vaccine within 60 days of arriving in the U.S., unless:
    • You have a medical exemption;
    • You are in the U.S. for less than 60 days;
    • You have participated in a COVID clinical trial;
    • You are a diplomat and have been approved for an exemption by the CDC;
  • There could be additional testing and quarantine requirements. This has not been made clear yet by the CDC.

October 18, 2021 Update

Fully vaccinated individuals who were physically present in Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the Schengen Area in the past 14 days will no longer be subject to the country-specific COVID bans and no longer need to obtain a National Interest Exception.

By Air: Adult foreign nationals entering the United States will need to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure.

By Land: Individuals entering the United States via land border for nonessential purposes will need to show proof of vaccination.

Original Post

How does the new guidance affect fully vaccinated foreign nationals?

Fully vaccinated foreign travelers will be able to enter the U.S. The vaccination requirement is in addition to the current testing requirements. This is amazing news for many travelers who have been impacted by the regional travel bans for the Schengen area in Europe including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and Greece, as well as the United Kingdom, India, China, South Africa, Iran, and Brazil.

How does the new guidance affect unvaccinated foreign nationals?

Unvaccinated foreign nationals will not be allowed to enter the U.S. There will likely be exceptions for children, vaccine trial participants, and those who need to travel for important reasons but are unable to be fully vaccinated in a timely manner. Travelers who qualify for an exception will be required to show proof of a negative COVID test taken within 24 hours of departure and get tested again upon arrival. Bottom line: unless the foreign national qualifies for an exception and adheres to the stricter testing requirements, foreign nationals cannot travel to the U.S. unless they are fully vaccinated.

How does the new guidance affect fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents?

Fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents will need to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of departure to the U.S.

How does the new guidance affect unvaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents?

Unvaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents will be able to travel to the U.S. but will face stricter testing requirements. They will need to show proof of a negative COVID test taken within 24 hours of departure to the U.S. and get tested upon arrival.

What does this mean for individuals with work visa status or pending work visa petitions?

Foreign travelers with valid ESTA or existing visa stamps will not need to apply for a national interest exception. Individuals who require a new visa will not need to apply for a national interest exception either. However, consulates and embassies that are already under-resourced may have additional delays after the new travel policy takes effect. If you have an approved visa but need a visa stamp and want to travel to the U.S. later this year, make an appointment as soon as possible for entry in November or after. Plan early!

What about land border travel to the U.S. from Mexico and Canada?

Current land border crossing restrictions remain in place. Canada re-opened its land borders to travelers from the United States, but the U.S. has yet to return the favor. Non-essential land border travel from Mexico and Canada to the U.S. is still prohibited. Restrictions have been extended every month since the restrictions were first put in place in March 2020.

Travel requirements and restrictions may change at any time. Legalpad will update this page as new guidance is available, but we recommend checking with your local consulate for the latest information.