US lifting travel restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign travellers in November

Foreign nationals will need to present proof of vaccination before travel.

Faris Alfiq | September 21, 2021, 02:50 PM

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The United States will be lifting its travel restrictions for fully-vaccinated air travellers from 33 countries, including China, India, Brazil and most of Europe, Reuters reported.

The White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients did not give an exact date on the country's reopening beyond saying "early November".

Reuters added that details of the new policy are still being decided.

Non-citizens previously barred

Prior to this, the U.S. barred non-citizens who have travelled to the countries listed within the past 14 days.

Travel restrictions on non-U.S. citizens were first introduced on air travellers from China in January 2020 by former President Donald Trump at the start of the pandemic.

According to Reuters, he extended the restrictions to many other countries without giving any clear indications on when to lift them or how to do so.

The Biden administration has been considering imposing vaccine requirements for foreigners since May 2021.

Shift in policy

Previously, on Sep. 15, Zients had said that it was not the right time to relax any travel restrictions given the rising number of Covid-19 Delta variant cases in the U.S. and around the world.

So why the apparently abrupt shift in the Biden administration's policy?

Rising global vaccination rates were one factor.

In addition, Zients pointed out during the press conference that the U.S. was developing a "new system for international travel" when the country lifts travel restrictions, Associated Press reported.

This new system, which includes collecting contact tracing data from passengers traveling into the United States, would allow them to implement strict protocols in preventing the spread of the virus, 

CDC to decide accepted vaccines

Non-US citizens will need to present their vaccination status before travelling to the U.S. This excludes children who are not yet eligible to take the Covid-19 vaccines.

They are also not required to quarantine upon arrival.

As for the types of vaccines accepted by the country, the White House said it is up to the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to decide.

"The CDC considers someone fully vaccinated with any FDA-authorised or approved vaccines and any vaccines that (the World Health Organisation) has authorised," CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund said.

She added that the list of vaccines could change if any of the agencies made additions to the list.

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Top image via Dennis Gecaj on Unsplash