The government of the United States of America has said it will lift COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated international visitors beginning from November 8, 2021.
This is coming almost two years after the U.S. government imposed restrictions on certain categories of travellers who are non-US citizens.
Restrictions on non-US citizens were first imposed on air travellers from China in January 2020. It was further extended to dozens of other countries including India.
Curbs on non-essential travellers at land borders with Mexico and Canada have been in place since March 2020 to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The US government on Friday announced that foreign national air travellers to the United States will be required –with only limited exceptions– to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding.
This means that visitors from the European Union, United Kingdom, and other countries will be allowed entry into the United States as long as they are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The government said the new global travel system replaces the existing country-by-country restrictions, putting inplace a consistent approach worldwide.
It noted that with the implementation of these new vaccine requirements, foreign national travellers who have been in one of the 33 countries with restrictions do not need to obtain national interest exceptions in order to travel to the United States.
Reuters quoted U.S. president Joe Biden as saying “We decided to adopt an air travel policy that relies primarily on vaccination to advance the safe resumption of international air travel to the U.S.”
Mr Biden also said children under 18 are exempted from the new vaccine requirements as are people with some medical issues.
Non-tourist travellers from nearly 50 countries with nationwide vaccination rates of less than 10 per cent will also be eligible for exemption from the rules.
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Those receiving an exemption will generally need to be vaccinated within 60 days after arriving in the United States.
Those countries include Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Armenia, Myanmar, Iraq, Nicaragua, Senegal, Uganda, Libya, Ethiopia, Zambia, Congo, Kenya, Yemen, Haiti, Chad and Madagascar.
The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) said for entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include those FDA approved, as well as vaccines with an emergency use listing (EUL) from the World Health Organization (WHO).
It said fully vaccinated air travelers will continue to be required to show documentation of a pre-departure negative viral test taken within three calendar days of travel to the United States before boarding.
“That includes all travelers – U.S. citizens, lawful permanentresidents (LPRs), and foreign nationals.
“For example, if a vaccinated traveller is traveling to the United States on Saturday, they can test from Wednesday on.
“To further strengthen protections, unvaccinated travelers – whether U.S. citizens, LPRs, or thesmall number of excepted unvaccinated foreign nationals – will now need to show proof of a negative test within one calendar day of travel to the United States.”
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