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  • Writer's pictureKristina M. Hernandez

Things to Know about the COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for International Travel

On October 25, 2021, President Biden issued Presidential Proclamation 10294 rescinding the geographic COVID-19 travel bans and adopting COVID-19 vaccination requirements for all international air travelers to the United States, effective November 8, 2021. The Proclamation governs the entry into the United States of nonimmigrants traveling to the United States by air. With limited exceptions, it suspends entry of noncitizen nonimmigrants who are not vaccinated and requires those individuals seeking an exception to follow health and safety requirements determined by the Director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

What does the Proclamation do?

The Proclamation suspends the entry into the United States via air travel of noncitizen, nonimmigrants who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with certain exceptions. Travelers will be required to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of that vaccination before boarding a plane to the United States.

What vaccines will be accepted?

The list of acceptable vaccines are:

· Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Single Dose)

· Pfizer-BioNTech

· Moderna

· AstraZeneca

· Covishield

· BIBP/Sinopharm

· Sinovac

According to the CDC, people are considered “fully vaccinated” 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, or 2 weeks after a single-dose series.

What proof of vaccination will be accepted?

In its Technical Instructions, the CDC has identified three documentation categories considered acceptable proof of COVID-19 vaccination, which require varying review processes by the airlines:

  • Verifiable digital or paper records: This includes, but is not limited to, examples such as vaccination certificates or digital passes accessible via QR code (such as the UK NHS COVID Pass and the European Union Digital COVID Certificate)

  • Non-verifiable paper records: A paper vaccination record or a COVID-19 vaccination certificate issued by a national or subnational level or by an authorized vaccine provide (such as the CDC vaccination card).

  • Non-verifiable digital records: Digital photos of vaccination card or record, or a downloaded record or vaccination certificate from an official source (e.g., public health agency, government agency, or other authorized vaccine provider), or a record shown on a mobile phone app without a QR code.

Do I still need to show a negative COVID test before entering the US?

Yes, all vaccinated individuals, including American citizens, lawful permanent residents, and foreign nationals traveling to the United States on immigrant or nonimmigrant visas, will be required to produce a negative viral test (NAAT or PCR) result within three calendar days of travel to the United States, or before boarding the first flight in a series of connection to the United States.

Will this make it easier for me to get my visa stamping?

No. The US embassy in India has warned that there may be significant appointment wait times for some nonimmigrant visa categories at the embassies and consulates.

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