US President Joseph Biden has signed an order that mandates that anyone travelling to the United States from November 8, must be fully vaccinated.
The US will lift all travel restrictions for incoming non-citizen, non-immigrant travellers, with only limited exceptions, and they will be required to be fully vaccinated and produce proof of their COVID-19 vaccination prior to boarding a flight to the country, the White House announced on Monday.
The updated travel guidelines also include new protocols around testing. To further strengthen protections, unvaccinated travellers whether US Citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), or the small number of accepted unvaccinated foreign nationals will now need to test within one day of departure.
“Under this new international air travel system, foreign nationals will need to be fully vaccinated, in order to fly to the United States. The new system also includes enhanced testing requirements, strengthened contact tracing, as well as masking. These are strict safety protocols that follow the science and public health to enhance the safety of Americans here at home, and the safety of international air travel,” a senior administration official told reporters.
Beginning November 8, non-citizen, non-immigrant air travellers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to fly to the US, with only limited exceptions, the official said.
According to the White House, passengers will need to show their vaccination status, and the airlines will need to match the name and date of birth to confirm that the passenger is the same person reflected on the proof of vaccination; determine that the record was issued by an official source (e.g., public health agency, government agency) in the country where the vaccine was given and review the essential information for determining if the passenger meets CDC's definition for fully vaccinated such as vaccine product, number of vaccine doses received, date(s) of administration, site (e.g., vaccination clinic, health care facility) of vaccination.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that for purposes of travel to the United States, vaccines accepted will include FDA approved or authorised and World Health Organization (WHO) emergency use listed (EUL) vaccines.
Individuals can be considered fully vaccinated for more than weeks after receipt of the last dose if they have received any single dose of an FDA approved/authorised or WHO EUL approved single-dose series (i.e., Janssen), or any combination of two doses of an FDA approved/authorised or WHO emergency use listed Covid-19 two-dose series (i.e. mixing and matching).
Children under 18 are excepted from the vaccination requirement for foreign national travellers, given both the ineligibility of some younger children for vaccination, as well as the global variability in access to vaccination for older children who are eligible to be vaccinated.
Children between the ages of 2 and 17 are required to take a pre-departure test.
If travelling with a fully vaccinated adult, an unvaccinated child can test three days prior to departure (consistent with the timeline for fully vaccinated adults).
If an unvaccinated child is travelling alone or with unvaccinated adults, they will have to test within one day of departure, the White House said in a fact sheet.