U.S. Travel Update: New Requirements for Fully Vaccinated Travelers When Restrictions Ease in November
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.
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.