Kristina M. Hernandez
Restrictions for International Travelers Ending in Early November
On September 20, 2021, the Biden Administration announced that it would be easing travel restricting for international travelers entering the United States, beginning in early November. The rescinding of the ban affects a number of countries but includes China, Iran, the UK, South Africa, India, Brazil, and Ireland. However, in lieu of a ban being in place, the administration announced that they would now be requiring proof from travelers that they have been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus and they must also provide a negative COVID test within three days of boarding their flight to the United States. At the time of the announcement on September 20th, there had been no formal announcement of which vaccines would be accepted and on which date the travel restrictions would be eased.
According to reports, the Biden administration will be easing travel restrictions on all fully vaccinated international travelers effective on November 8, 2021.
Further, only vaccines that are approved or authorized by the FDA or listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization will be accepted. As of the date of this update, the accepted vaccines are as follows:
1. FDA Authorized/Approved: Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer-BioNTech
2. WHO Approved: Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca/Covishield, Sinopharm, and Sinovac.
A limited number of exceptions will be made for certain individuals such as children, COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants, and other humanitarian exceptions, but it should also be noted that for individuals who claim exemption from the vaccine, there may still be a requirement to become vaccinated on arrival.
Finally, on October 13, 2021, DHS Secretary Mayorkas announced that the travel restrictions for land and ferry border crossings from Canada and Mexico will be lifted in two phases. In early November 2021, consistent with the rescission of the INA 212(f) COVID-19 entry bans for air travelers, DHS will first allow non-essential travel across the land and ferry borders for fully vaccinated individuals, while still allowing essential travel for unvaccinated individuals. In early January 2022, DHS will then require all foreign travelers, whether essential or not, to be fully vaccinated. There will be limited exceptions to these requirements, such as for children. This announcement only applies to regular land and ferry border crossings and does not lift the Title 42 restrictions for irregular land and ferry border crossings.