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Key Points

  • The US government has announced new guidance for fully vaccinated travelers to the US
  • The new requirements will start on November 8, 2021
  • Requirements and restrictions for entry vary based on vaccination status
  • Non-citizens must be fully vaccinated to enter the US by land or air with limited exceptions
  • Unvaccinated children under 18 may enter the US
  • Travelers must provide negative COVID-19 test results before entering the US by air
  • Individuals must provide personal information upon entry for contact tracing purposes


The US government has released official guidance for travelers to safely resume global travel during the COVID-19 pandemic that is primarily focused on vaccination.

What are the Changes?

The government has provided guidance for various segments of the population, including vaccinated travelers and unvaccinated travelers.

  • Fully Vaccinated Status: Starting on November 8, non-citizen, non-immigrant (“foreign nationals”) air travelers to the United States will be required to provide proof of vaccination status before boarding an airplane to fly to the US

NOTE: The vaccine requirement does not apply to US citizens, lawful permanent residents (green card holders), or non-citizens traveling on immigrant visas.

  • Proof of Vaccination: The airlines will be responsible for verifying vaccination information, and they will make sure that the vaccination record matches the traveler’s details
  • Accepted Vaccines: CDC has determined that for purposes of travel to the US, accepted vaccines will include FDA-approved or authorized and World Health Organization (WHO) emergency use listed (EUL) vaccines. Individuals will be considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receipt of the last dose of the vaccine
  • Authorized vaccines include:
    • Johnson & Johnson
    • Moderna
    • Oxford-AstraZeneca/Covishield
    • Pfizer/BioNTech
    • Sinopharm
    • Sinovac
  • Testing Requirements: All vaccinated travelers (including LPRs and US citizens) will need to produce a negative COVID-19 test result within three days of travel, but unvaccinated US citizens and LPRs will need to provide a negative test taken within one day of traveling
  • Requirements for Children: Children under 18 are exempted from the vaccination requirement for foreign national travelers, but children between the ages of 2 and 17 must take a pre-departure test and prove negative results. If traveling with a fully vaccinated adult, an unvaccinated child can test three days before departure. If an unvaccinated child is traveling alone or with unvaccinated adults, they will have to test within one day of departure
  • Limited Exemptions: There will be limited exceptions to the vaccine requirements for foreign nationals:
    • Children under 18 (as indicated above)
    • Clinical trial participants
    • Those with medical contraindications to the vaccines
    • Those who need to travel for emergency or humanitarian reasons (with a US government-issued letter affirming the urgent need to travel)
    • Those who are traveling on non-tourist visas from countries with low-vaccine availability and where less than 10% of the population is vaccinated
    • Members of (or spouse or child of) the US Armed Forces
    • Other very narrow categories

NOTE: Those who receive an exception will generally be required to attest they will comply with applicable public health requirements, including, with minimal exceptions, a condition that they are vaccinated in the US if they intend to stay here for more than 60 days.

  • Contact Tracing: The CDC is also issuing a Contact Tracing Order that requires all airlines flying into the US to keep on hand – and promptly turn over to the CDC when needed – contact information that will allow public health officials to follow up with inbound air travelers who are potentially infected or have been exposed to someone infected

Looking Ahead

We are monitoring this story and will continue to provide updates if more information is released.

Source: The White House

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