The White House announced on Friday that it will be accepting fully vaccinated foreign travelers into the United States starting November 8.
“The [United States’] new travel policy that requires vaccination for foreign national travelers to the United States will begin on Nov 8,” Kevin Munoz, White House assistant press secretary, wrote on Twitter Friday. “This announcement and date applies to both international air travel and land travel. This policy is guided by public health, stringent, and consistent.”
The U.S. first announced its plans to allow vaccinated foreign travelers into the country back in September but has only recently set the exact date in November on which the restrictions will be lifted.
The country will allow vaccinated visitors from the 26 “Schengen” European countries, which include France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and Greece. Vaccinated travelers from Britain, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran, and Brazil will be welcome as well. Individuals from those countries had previously been prevented from entering the U.S.
U.S. sets official date to lift travel restrictions for vaccinated foreign travelers
The Financial Times was the first news outlet to report the news back in September, which many saw as an indication that the U.S. was preparing for the world to stabilize into something resembling normalcy despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
However, it comes long after the UK and the EU removed corresponding restrictions on Americans visiting Europe; US residents have been traveling across the Atlantic since early summer, although they were earlier subject to testing and having to show proof of vaccination status upon arrival.
Many thousands of foreign nationals who have family in the United States have been kept apart for more than one year.
The travel industry, surviving another very difficult year, will respond to the news with relief, after lobbying the federal government for some time, encouraging it to lift some of the draconian measures barring international tourism.
Almost all of Europe has been open to Americans who show proof of their vaccine status; the European “Green Passport,” which was supported first by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, was adopted by the bloc several months later as the Summer tourism season ramped up across the Continent.
All industries involving the tourism market, including airlines, hotels, and hospitality organizations, had already voiced firm support for opening the country to vaccinated tourists from abroad once again.
White House Covid-19 response coordinator Zients stated that the administration is now taking steps in three key areas: testing, contact tracing, and masking, to further strengthen the safety net regarding the reopening of the country to foreign tourists.
Those wishing to enter the US will be required to undergo pre-departure testing within three days before departure, with proof of a negative result. All unvaccinated Americans who wish to return to the US will be “subject to stricter testing requirements,” according to Zients; they will have to test within one day of departure and yet again one day after arrival.
The coronavirus coordinator also stated that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will force all airlines to take contact tracing records on US-bound travelers, including phone numbers and email addresses. All airlines will be required to keep such information for a total of 30 days.