Below is how US international travel rules are changing on Monday

Posted: November 7, 2021 / 11:32 AM PST
Updated: November 7, 2021 / 11:32 AM PST

More than a year and a half after concerns about COVID-19 prompted the United States to close its borders to international travelers from countries such as Brazil, China, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom and much of Europe, restrictions are changing to focus on vaccine status. .

As of Monday, travel bans from specific countries have ended. The United States will allow the entry of international travelers, but they must be vaccinated, with a few exceptions.

The United States is also reopening land borders with Canada and Mexico for vaccinated people. Most trips from Canada and Mexico to the US are made by land and not by air.

Here are some questions and answers about the changes:

WHY ARE THESE CHANGES HAPPENING?

The goal is to restore more normal travel while limiting the spread of COVID-19, the government says. The travel industry and European allies have pushed for an end to country-specific bans. Americans have been allowed to fly to Europe for months, and Europeans have been pushing the US to change its policies.

In 2019, before the pandemic, about one-fifth of the approximately 79 million visitors to the U.S. came from Europe.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN REQUIREMENTS?

All adult aliens traveling to the U.S. must be fully vaccinated before boarding their flight. As before, travelers will still have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test done within 72 hours of departure to the US

DO WE ALL HAVE TO BE VACCINATED?

Yes, with a few exceptions. Children under the age of 18 should not be vaccinated, but a COVID test should be done. Children 2 years and under are exempt from the test requirements.

AND ADULTS WHO ARE NOT VACCINATED?

Because half the world is still unvaccinated and vaccine distribution has been so skewed in rich countries, the Biden administration is leaving a void for people living in countries where vaccines are scarce. This list includes about 50 countries where less than 10% of people have been vaccinated. Travelers from these countries will need permission from the U.S. government to come, and it can’t be just for tourism or business travel.

The U.S. government says it will allow unvaccinated international visitors into the country if there is a humanitarian or emergency reason, such as an emergency medical evacuation. These exceptions will be applied “extremely closely” and require the approval of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There could also be a medical exception, with documentation from a doctor.

WHAT SHOULD AMERICANS DO?

Americans who are not vaccinated must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within one day after the international trip. If you are vaccinated, you must take a test within three days of your departure, both for Americans and for citizens of other countries. This does not apply to flights within the US

WHO WILL APPLY VACCINE RULES?

That depends on the airlines. They will have to verify vaccine records and compare them to the identity document, and if they don’t, they could face fines of up to nearly $ 35,000 for infraction. Airlines will also collect information about passengers for contact search. There will be CDC workers who will periodically review travelers to check compliance in the U.S.

WHAT VACCINES WILL YOU LET IN?

Most but not all. Any COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization, which includes the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines used in the U.S., as well as the most widely used abroad, such as AstraZeneca and Sinovac from China. The Russian Sputnik V vaccine, which is authorized in 70 countries, is currently not allowed. The WHO is reviewing Sputnik but has not approved it.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ENTER FROM MEXICO OR CANADA, OR TAKE A FERRY?

Land borders have only been opened for “essential” travel. Now, anyone can come, if they are vaccinated against COVID. Be prepared to show proof of the shot to Customs and Border Protection agents. Children are exempt from the requirement.

HOW WILL IT AFFECT THIS JOURNEY?

Although the administration characterizes it as a reopening, some people who were technically allowed to fly to the United States before the pandemic are now blocked because of their vaccination status. Other obstacles to the normal revival of travel are large delays in issuing U.S. visas, which people in most countries need to visit the U.S. for business and tourism, and restrictions in other countries that make travel difficult.

While people coming from China will now be able to enter the US, for example, many are not expected to travel due to restrictions at home. Before the pandemic, Chinese tourists were a lucrative market for the U.S. travel industry.

Industry experts expect a large influx of people flying from Europe and expect a wider recovery in travel as more people are vaccinated around the world, visa processing in the United States is accelerating, other countries lift their own restrictions and people feel less scared to contract COVID because of travel.

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