Updated 10/15/21: The U.S. will permit foreign visitors who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the U.S. starting November 8, 2021, per White House assistant press secretary Kevin Munoz.
The U.S. Will End Its Travel Ban But Require All Foreign Visitors to Be Fully Vaccinated. The reopening will be in early November, all the exact date hasn't been announced yet. The current travel ban has prevented travelers from most of Europe, the UK, China, India, Brazil and South Africa from traveling directly to the U.S., although some enterprising visitors have instead traveled to Mexico first, where they have stayed for 14 days (since the ban is against travelers who have been in the banned countries within the previous 14 days), before flying to the U.S.
In addition to being fully vaccinated, foreign visitors (exceptions children under 12 years old, who aren't yet eligible for shots) will need to have a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken within the three days prior to departure to the U.S. This will continue to be the case as well for fully vaccinated Americans. Since January 26, 2021, the United States Has Required Coronavirus Testing for All International Arrivals, either a NAAT test or a rapid antigen test, such as the Abbott BinaxNOW Covid-19 Test that we reviewed.
The final decision on what vaccines would be accepted is up to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC currently considers a person to be fully vaccinated if they are two weeks after the final dose of an FDA-authorized or approved or World Health Organization authorized vaccine, which at time of writing include:
- Moderna (mRNA-1273)
- Pfizer (BNT162b2)
- Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Ad26.COV2.S)
- Oxford/AstraZeneca (AZD1222)
- Serum Institute of India Covishield
- Sinopharm (BBIBP-CorV)
- Sinovac (CoronaVac)
Stricter Rules for Unvaccinated Americans Returning to the U.S.
The rules will be stricter for unvaccinated Americans returning to the U.S., who will have to test negative for COVID-19 within one day prior to departing for the U.S., and again after arriving in the U.S. These restrictions apply to air travelers, but at time of writing, it's unclear if these restrictions will apply to those traveling into the U.S. at land borders. The U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico remain closed, with the closure extended at least through October 21, 2021, and likely longer.
As part of the new rules, airlines will need to operationalize contact tracing for all passengers flying into the U.S. This is already done in Canada, but at most, some airlines have asked their passengers to provide contact details on a voluntary basis.
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