New U.S. COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Effective November 8, 2021
For several weeks, the Biden Administration has signaled it will replace the Trump-era geographic based travel restrictions with vaccination and testing requirements.
On October 25, 2021, President Biden issued a new Presidential Proclamation formalizing these indications for air travelers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of State have initiated the roll out for this policy change by releasing further details on their websites. These new travel restrictions will take affect November 8, 2021 with no set expiration. Until November 8th, the current geographic based travel restrictions remain in place.
Importantly, U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) are not subject to the October 25th Presidential Proclamation. However, U.S. citizens and LPRs will continue to be subject to predeparture testing requirements that vary depending on vaccination status. Fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and LPRs will continue to require a negative COVID-19 test result received no more than 3 days before travel or proof of recent recovery. Non-fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and LPRs must provide a negative COVID-19 test result received no more than 1 day before travel or proof of recent recovery. Children under the age of 2 are not required to be tested.
Under the proclamation, foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. by air must now be fully vaccinated absent limited exceptions and complete predeparture testing within 3 days of departure. Acceptable vaccines are those authorized by the Food and Drug Administration or approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization. Foreign nationals will also be required to provide the airline with contact information prior to boarding to strengthen contract tracing.
The limited exceptions to the vaccination requirement for foreign nationals include children under age 18, persons with valid visas (other than tourist) who are citizens of a country with limited vaccine availability, humanitarian/emergency situations, and crew members. Excepted individuals must also complete predeparture testing 1 day prior to departure like other unvaccinated travelers.
There are also a number of post-arrival requirements for excepted foreign nationals. Excepted foreign nationals must complete post-arrival testing 3-5 days after arrival and self-quarantine for a full 7 days. If the post-arrival test is positive, the individual must self-isolate. Foreign nationals who enter the U.S. under an exception and who will stay for more than 60 days may be obligated to be vaccinated within 60 days of arrival or as soon as medically appropriate in the case of children.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is expected to make similar changes to the requirements for land border travelers on November 8, 2021. Additional details from CBP are forthcoming.
Gee & Zhang LLP will continue to monitor developments regarding these new travel restrictions as November 8, 2021 approaches. If you have any questions regarding international travel to the U.S., please contact our law firm.