U.S. to Remove COVID Restrictions for Foreign Travelers

Summary

The U.S. will be removing many of the historic travel restrictions that have been in place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The White House recently announced that they will be lifting COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated international visitors starting Nov. 8. This will end the historic restrictions that had barred citizens from throughout the world from entering the United States for more than the last year and a half.

The unprecedented travel restrictions, which had kept millions of visitors out of the United States from China, Canada, Mexico, India, Brazil, much of Europe and elsewhere, had a devastating impact on individuals and businesses. It prevented people from seeing their loved ones, prevented foreign workers from returning to their jobs, and hurt the U.S. economy.

Many people welcomed the announcement from the White House. The Biden administration clearly believes that, while COVID-19 must still be taken seriously, we can resume more normal operations in a safe manner.

Restrictions on non-U.S. citizens were first imposed on air travelers from China in January 2020 by then-President Donald Trump. It was thereafter extended to dozens of other countries. This included limits on non-essential travelers at land borders with Mexico and Canada. However, it was never clear how and when the restrictions would be removed.

The White House’s announcement stated that it would lift restrictions at its land borders and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico for fully vaccinated foreign nationals in early November. This is similar to the requirements announced last month for international air travelers.

The White House had announced on Sept. 20 that the United States would lift restrictions on air travelers from 33 countries in early November. Starting Nov. 8, the United States will admit fully vaccinated foreign air travelers from the 26 so-called Schengen countries in Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Greece, as well as Britain, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil. The unprecedented U.S. restrictions have barred non-U.S. citizens who were in those countries within the past 14 days.

The White House said last month it would apply vaccine requirements to foreign nationals traveling from all other countries. Non-U.S. air travelers will need to show proof of vaccination before boarding a flight and will need to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. Foreign visitors crossing a land border will not need to show proof of a recent negative test. The new rules do not require foreign visitors or Americans entering the country to go into quarantine.

Americans traveling overseas must still show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test, and unvaccinated Americans will face stricter testing requirements. They will also be subject to restrictions in countries they plan to visit, which may include quarantines.

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