The United States plans to ease foreign travel restrictions for all fully vaccinated visitors starting November, said an official statement by the White House. The new announcement is a welcome relief after a patchwork of bans that had barred non-citizens who had been in Europe, Asia and other countries in the prior 14 days from entering the US.
The lifting of blanket restrictions on travel to the US from certain countries will come as welcome news to thousands of foreign nationals with families in the United States who have been kept apart for almost the entire pandemic.
The new rules will require all foreign nationals arriving in the US to show proof of being fully vaccinated, the White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said. Fully vaccinated passengers will also not be required to quarantine.
He said the new rules would take effect in early November, a timeline that will give agencies and airlines “time to prepare.”
In addition to requiring vaccination, the administration said it was taking other steps to mitigate spread of the virus in three other areas: testing, contact tracing and masking.
Fully vaccinated foreign nationals and American citizens returning to the US from abroad will be required to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test within three days of their flight, and show proof of a negative result before boarding.
Unvaccinated Americans returning to the US will undergo stricter testing requirements including a test within one day of departure and an additional test when they return.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to issue a contact tracing order requiring airlines to collect information from US-bound travelers, including a phone number and email address, to alert travelers of potential exposure. Airlines will be required to keep contact tracing information for 30 days.