Vaccination Requirement Will Replace Covid-19 Travel Bans

Oct 18, 2021 | Consular Services & Travel

UPDATE: To further clarify the travel updates, WR Immigration is hosting a free webinar on this subject, led by Managing Partner, Bernie Wolfsdorf, and Partner Avi Friedman on Nov. 18, 2021, at noon pacific. All are welcome to join. Register here.

The Biden administration will ease travel restrictions on all fully vaccinated international travelers at air and land borders effective November 8, 2021.  The decision rescinds geographic travel bans implemented in 2020 under the Trump Administration. Global mobility and human resources professionals should prepare for a noticeable bump in requests for travel.

Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know:  

Travel Bans Rescinded

Under the covid travel bans, foreign nationals who had been in Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, Schengen countries, South Africa and the United Kingdom within two weeks preceding travel were banned from flying directly into the United States unless they first applied for and received a National Interest Exception waiver.  These travel bans are being rescinded.

A New Vaccination Mandate

Under Biden’s new policy, all international travelers will be required to prove they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and furnish proof of a negative Covid-19 test within 3 days of boarding a flight to U.S. This requirement applies to all foreign nationals regardless of whether they were previously impacted by a travel ban. 

Non-essential Travel Permitted Across U.S. Borders

In early November, non-essential travel will be allowed across the land and ferry borders for fully vaccinated individuals.  This ends the restriction on non-essential travel across U.S. land borders implemented in March 2020 under President Trump.

Essential Travel Across Land Borders Allowed Temporarily for Unvaccinated Individuals

At land and ferry borders, essential travel for unvaccinated individuals is allowed temporarily. In  January 2022, all foreign travelers, whether essential or not, must be fully vaccinated.

Types of Vaccines

Only vaccines that are approved or authorized by FDA or listed for emergency use by WHO will be accepted for international travelers seeking to travel to the U.S. These include Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca/Covishield, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinopharm, and Sinovac. As vaccines are added to the approved/authorized list by either the FDA or WHO, they will subsequently be accepted for international travelers.

Very Narrow Exceptions

Limited exceptions to the new vaccine travel mandate may be granted to certain groups, such as children and vaccine clinical trial participants.  In addition, exceptions may be made on humanitarian grounds for people traveling for important reasons and who lack access to vaccination in a timely manner.

To further clarify the travel updates, WR Immigration is hosting a free webinar on this subject, led by Managing Partner, Bernie Wolfsdorf, and Partner Avi Friedman on Nov. 18, 2021, at noon pacific. All are welcome to join. Register here.

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