U.S. Travel Restrictions: Biden to Allow Vaccinated Travelers from the E.U. and U.K.
After nearly 18 months of barring almost all travelers who are foreign nationals from entering the country, U.S. travel restrictions are being rolled back.
President Joe Biden announced on Monday that fully vaccinated travelers from 33 countries, including E.U. countries and the U.K., will be allowed to enter the U.S. in early November, according to Reuters. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will have the final say on which vaccines will be accepted, which could possibly include vaccines that aren’t yet approved or authorized in the U.S. but are elsewhere.
“In early November we’ll be putting in place strict protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from passengers flying internationally into the United States by requiring that adult foreign nationals traveling to the United States be fully vaccinated,” said White House Press secretary Jen Psaki during a briefing on Monday. The U.S. travel restrictions were first imposed by former President Donald Trump in early 2020 as the coronavirus took hold in the country.
The decision to reopen U.S. borders to foreign visitors was applauded across the travel industry as a milestone on the path to restoring prepandemic operations. “This is a major turning point in the management of the virus and will accelerate the recovery of the millions of travel-related jobs that have been lost due to international travel restrictions,” Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said in a statement.
U.S. airlines—one of the sectors hardest hit by the international travel restrictions—are “eager to safely reunite the countless families, friends, and colleagues who have not seen each other in nearly two years, if not longer,” Nicholas E. Calio, president of lobbying group Airlines for America, said in a statement. “Today’s announcement marks a positive step in our nation’s recovery, and we look forward to working with the administration over the coming weeks to implement this new global system.”
Jeffrey Zients, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, told NBC News that the vaccine requirement will eventually apply to all foreign nationals entering the U.S., who will also need to be tested for the virus three days before departing for the U.S. and show a negative test result upon arrival. Unvaccinated Americans will need to test one day before departure and be tested again upon arrival, the report says. Currently, there are no plans for a vaccine requirement for domestic air travel, but according to NBC, Zients said nothing is off the table.
Last week Anthony Fauci, M.D., the top infectious disease doctor in the U.S., made a similar comment about a potential vaccine requirement for domestic air travel. “It’s on the table,” he said in a podcast interview. “We haven’t decided yet.”
This story originally appeared on Condé Nast Traveler.
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