It’s been a rocky road for international visitors hoping to visit family, vacation or conduct business in the U.S. Luckily, the clouds are starting to clear! The U.S. will ease tough, pandemic travel restrictions for vaccinated international visitors from 33 countries in early-November. The new policy requires non-citizens of these countries to show proof of vaccination before boarding U.S.-bound flights. Visitors will also be expected to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure.
Why will the U.S. relax travel restrictions?
The U.S. was under increasing pressure to relax restrictions for months, especially since many of these countries have already welcomed Americans back. The U.K. and E.U. countries relaxed restrictions for vaccinated U.S. travelers since the summer. Countries that will benefit from the new U.S. policy include Brazil, China, India and the 26 Schengen countries in Europe.
The U.S. has had an uneven reputation with countries around the world since the pandemic started – with 150 countries not subject to the same travel bans. This new policy does even the playing field and requires those foreign nationals not previously affected by the U.S. travel restrictions to comply with the vaccine requirement.
Does the new vaccination policy affect Canada and Mexico land borders?
In a separate announcement, the U.S. extended land border restrictions for nonessential travel for incoming non-citizens from Canada and Mexico to at least Oct 21, 2021. Officials gave no indication if either country would be a part of the new vaccine rules for border crossings.
Vaccine Policy Exemptions
Unvaccinated children traveling with vaccinated parents will be exempt from the vaccine requirement. The White House also indicates there may be other exemptions carved out in the official final policy. Full details have not yet been released.
Implications for Unvaccinated Americans
Unvaccinated Americans returning from international travel will now face strict rules as well. Proof of a negative COVID-19 test required within a day of travel, and proof of purchase of a viral test to be taken after being allowed reentry.
How do you feel about the new rules? Do you have family that could be affected in a positive way? Can your family members get the vaccine now required for entry? Do you think the vaccine requirement for international visitors is a good thing? Sound off in the comments below!