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U.S. Changing Rules On International Travel

U.S. Changing Rules On International Travel

More than a year and a half after the U.S. closed its borders to international travelers from countries including Brazil, China, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and much of Europe due to the COVID19 pandemic, travel restrictions are now loosening and shifting to focus on vaccine status.

Beginning Monday, bans on travel from specific countries are over. The U.S. will allow in international travelers, but they must be vaccinated,  with few exceptions allowed. The U.S. is also reopening the land borders with Canada and Mexico for vaccinated people. Most trips from Canada and Mexico to the U.S. are by land rather than air.

View of a desert terminal at Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD) on November 10, 2020, amid the Coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Daniel SLIM / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)

The new restrictions apply to all adult foreign nationals traveling to the U.S., who must be fully vaccinated before boarding their flight. Like before, travelers will still have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure to the U.S. Children under 18 don’t need to be vaccinated but they do need to take a COVID test. Kids 2 and younger are exempt from testing requirements. Industry experts predict the biggest influx in people flying will be from Europe. The new rules give hope that an even broader recovery in travel will follow as more people globally get vaccinated, U.S. visa processing speeds up, other countries lift their own restrictions and people feel less scared about getting COVID because of travel.

The Biden administration says it will permit unvaccinated international visitors to enter the country if there is a humanitarian or emergency reason, such as an emergency medical evacuation. Those exceptions will be applied “extremely narrowly” and require approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There could also be a medical exception, with documentation from a doctor.

Americans who are unvaccinated have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within one day of international travel. If you’re vaccinated, you need to take a test within three days of your departure, for both Americans and citizens of other countries. This does not apply to flights within the U.S.

 

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