Fully vaccinated Indians can now travel to the United States as of November 8, as the White House announced that the country will allow foreigners who have done both vaccinations.
In what will be the beginning and end of the unprecedented restrictions imposed earlier last year, a White House official said the policy is guided by public health, it is strict and consistent.
Here are 10 things you need to know about the latest development.
1) The policy was already described in early September, where White House officials said the country would lift restrictions on air travelers from 33 countries in early November.
2) From 8 November, the US will admit fully vaccinated foreign air travelers from the 26 so-called Schengen countries of Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Greece, as well as Great Britain, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.
3) Not all the technical and logistical details of the new policy have been announced yet.
4) U.S. health authorities have said all vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization would be accepted for air entry. At the moment, it includes vaccines AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinopharm and Sinovac.
5) The United States shall consider vaccinated persons arriving by air if they have received vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration or with a World Health Organization emergency use list.
6) In general, unvaccinated foreigners will be barred from entering, while unvaccinated Americans will need a negative Covid-19 test.
7) The move is meant to provide massive relief to the large Indian diaspora trapped in the US and unable to travel to India for the past year and a half as there would be a lot of inconvenience to return. Now, with the latest announcement, many Indians living in the US can plan their trip home and return when needed.
8) Indians traveling to the United States must show a vaccination test before embarking on a flight and must show a test of a recent negative Covid-19 test. Foreign visitors crossing a land border will not be required to show evidence of a recent negative Covid-19 test.
9) The move to a vaccine-based entry system aligns the US with the European Union, which began using Covid-pass applications in early summer, and the UK, which made the switch in recent weeks.
10) For the U.S., the November 8 date also applies to an opening at the land borders with Canada and Mexico announced earlier this week.