US Will Accept Proof of Vaccination and Negative COVID Test Results in lieu of Travel Ban

Yesterday, the White House announced that it plans to cancel the blanket regional travel bans for visitors from China, Iran, the Schengen Area, U.K., Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, and Inida.  Instead, international travellers coming to the United States will be required to present proof of full COVID vaccination and proof of a negative test taken within three days of travel.  The new policy will be effective in early November 2021.

Instead of banning international travel based on countries of origin, the U.S. will focus on individual visitors' health profile under this new policy.

At this point, the White House has not decided which COVID vaccines that it will accept as proof of full vaccination. The CDC will make that decision later on.  

There are some limited exceptions to the vaccination/negative test requirements includng children, COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants and humanitarian exceptions for people "traveling for an important reason and who lack access to vaccination in a timely manner." It is expected that requests for exception will be granted sparingly. 

The U.S. has also extended the masking requirement through January 18, 2022.  At the same time, CDC will also implement more stringent pre-departure and post-arrival testing requirements.  Travellers must be prepared to spend longer time at the airports. 

Additionally, CDC will also issue a Contact Tracing Order.  The Order will require airlines to (1) collect comprehensive contact information for every passenger coming to the United States and (2) to provide that information to CDC upon request, and (3) to follow up with travelers who have been exposed to COVID-19 variants or other pathogens.

Under this new policy, travellers will be required to present proof of vaccination status before boarding a flight bound for the United States.  The specific type of proof has not been determined yet. 

For Americans coming back from foreign travel, they will be requried to provide proof of a negative test result taken within one day of their departure prior to boarding an airplane.  They will also be required to provide proof that they have purchased a viral test to be taken after arrival.

In sum, the new policy will allow more international travellers to travel to the United States for business and personal reasons.

(Immigration laws and policies change regularly.  If you have any questions regarding this article, please visit to schedule legal consultation.) 


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