9 Key Facts US Rules for Travel

More than a year and a half after COVID-19 concerns prompted the United States to close its borders to international travelers from various countries, including Brazil, China, India, South Africa, Britain and many from Europe, the restrictions they are changing to focus on people's vaccination status.

As of Monday, travel bans from specific countries ended. Washington will allow the entry of international travelers, but they must be vaccinated against COVID-19, with some exceptions.

The United States will also reopen its land borders with Canada and Mexico for vaccinated people.

Most trips to the United States from those two countries are made by land, rather than by air.

1. WHAT WILL THE AMERICANS HAVE TO DO?

Unvaccinated Americans will be required to show a negative coronavirus diagnostic test performed one day prior to their international travel. If they are vaccinated, they must take it three days before their departure, and this applies to both Americans and citizens of other countries. This is not required on internal flights.

2. WHAT ARE THE ACCEPTED VACCINES?

Most, but not all. Any COVID-19 vaccine that has been authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization, including those developed by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson used in the United States, as well as the most of those applied abroad, such as AstraZeneca and Sinovac in China. The Russian Sputnik V vaccine is not currently accepted, although it is licensed in 70 countries.

The WHO is reviewing Sputnik, but has not approved it.

3. WHY ARE THESE CHANGES HAPPENING?

The goal is to resume normal travel while limiting the spread of COVID-19, the US government noted. The tourism industry and European allies have pushed for an end to country travel bans. Americans have been able to travel to Europe for months now, and Europeans have been pressuring Washington to change its policies.

In 2019, before the pandemic began, about a fifth of the approximately 79 million tourists to the United States traveled from Europe.

4. MUST EVERYONE BE VACCINATED?

Yes, with a few exceptions. Those under the age of 18 do not have to be vaccinated, but they do need to undergo a diagnostic test for COVID-19. Children 2 years and younger are exempt from the testing requirements.

5. WHAT ARE THE MAIN REQUIREMENTS?

All adults traveling to the United States must be fully vaccinated before boarding their flight. As before, travelers will still need to show a negative coronavirus diagnostic test taken within 72 hours of their trip.

6. WHAT ABOUT ADULTS WHO ARE NOT VACCINATED?

With half the planet still unvaccinated and vaccine distribution has been so skewed toward wealthy nations, the government of President Joe Biden left a loophole for people living in countries where vaccines are scarce.

That list includes about 50 countries where less than 10% of the people have been vaccinated. Travelers from those nations will need permission from Washington to go, and the reason cannot be just for tourism or business.

The US government said it will allow unvaccinated international travelers to enter the nation if there is a humanitarian or emergency reason, such as an urgent medical evacuation. Those exceptions will be enforced "in an extremely strict manner" and will require approval from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There could also be a medical exception, supported by documentation from a doctor.

7. WHO WILL ENFORCE THE VACCINATION RULES?

That is in the hands of the airlines. They will have to review vaccination records and match them with passenger identity documents, and if they fail to do so, they could face fines of up to nearly $ 35,000 per violation. The airlines will also collect passenger information for contact tracing. CDC workers will be randomly checking travelers for compliance with US regulations.

8. HOW WILL THIS AFFECT TRAVEL?

Although the government is characterizing this as a reopening, some people who could technically travel to the United States a few months ago in the pandemic are now unable to do so due to their vaccination status.

9. WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ENTER BY LAND FROM MEXICO OR CANADA, OR BY FERRY?

Land borders have only been open for "essential" travel. Now anyone can come, if they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Prepare to show proof of vaccination to US Customs and Border Protection agents. Children are exempt from the requirement.

Other obstacles to resuming normal travel include long delays in the issuance of U.S. visas, which people in most countries need to visit the United States for business and tourism, and restrictions in other nations that make travel difficult. travels.

Although people from China will already be able to enter the United States, for example, many are not expected to make the trip due to restrictions in their country of origin. Before the pandemic, Chinese tourists were a lucrative market for the American tourism sector.

Industry experts do anticipate a large flow of people traveling from Europe, and are hopeful for a broader recovery in travel as more people get vaccinated internationally, the issuance of US visas accelerates, others. countries lift their own restrictions and people are less afraid of contracting COVID-19 from traveling.