International travel to USA remained a distant dream for so long, but now it is on the cards. The US will reopen to fully vaccinated foreign travelers from November 8, announced the White House, putting an end to the long-standing travel restrictions on international air travelers from 33 countries including Europe, UK, India, Brazil, Ireland, South Africa, Iran and China.
Travel restrictions on these countries have been in place since the early days of the pandemic outbreak. The White House coronavirus response coordinator, Jeff Zients, had announced in September that the country is formulating a new international travel system, under which it will reopen its borders for international travel in November, but hadn’t specified the date then. Now the White House assistant press secretary, Kevin Munoz, reveals the date to be the 8th of November.
“This announcement and date applies to both international air travel and land travel. This policy is guided by public health, stringent, and consistent,” wrote Kevin Munoz on Twitter.
So, once the new air travel system comes into effect on Nov 8, vaccinated travelers will be required to present proof of full vaccination before boarding the flight to USA along with a negative report of the COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure (Foreign visitors crossing a land border will not need to show proof of a recent negative test). On-arrival quarantine doesn’t apply to these fully vaccinated travelers. As for children who are not eligible for vaccination, they will largely be exempted from the vaccine requirement.
Air travelers vaccinated with any of the vaccines approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or have been granted an Emergency Use Listing from the World Health Organization (WHO) can fly to the US from November 8. This means, at present, travelers who received a full dose of Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines will be allowed to enter the USA.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also confirmed that it would accept mixed vaccination, provided the vaccines are authorized by either the Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization. It said, “individuals who have any combination of two doses of an FDA approved/authorized or WHO emergency use listed COVID-19 two-dose series are considered fully vaccinated.”
The CDC will also issue an order directing all the airlines to collect the current information of US-bound passengers, including their phone number and email address for contact tracing purposes.
“It (the new international air travel system) will require for nationals to be vaccinated, to prove they’re vaccinated, and then to go to the testing and contract tracing regimens,” Jeff Zients is quoted saying.
While fully vaccinated foreign nationals will be allowed to travel to the US from November 8, unvaccinated American nationals traveling home from abroad will be subject to stricter entry rules that require them to present a negative COVID-19 report of the test taken within a day before traveling and again get tested after arrival in the US.