Traveling to the Unites States is expected to get easier starting on November 8 when a set of new travel rules take effect, the White House announced on Monday.
US President Joe Biden approved this week a set of new Covid-19 vaccine requirements for most foreign national air travelers and lifted stringent travel restrictions applicable to 26 Schengen countries in Europe, China, and India.
The regulations will go into effect on November 8, the White House said.
“It is in the interests of the United States to move away from the country-by-country restrictions previously applied during the Covid-19 pandemic and to adopt an air travel policy that relies primarily on vaccination to advance the safe resumption of international air travel to the United States,” the White House statement said.
According to the new rules:
-non-citizen, non-immigrant air travelers to the US will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination status prior to boarding a plane to the US
-unvaccinated travelers – whether US Citizens, lawful permanent residents, or the small number of excepted unvaccinated foreign nationals – will now need to test within one day of departure
-children under 18 and people with some medical issues are exempt from the new vaccine requirements
-non-tourist travelers from nearly 50 countries with nationwide vaccination rates of less than 10 percent will be eligible for exemption from the rules
-those receiving an exemption will need to be vaccinated within 60 days after arriving in the US
-fully vaccinated foreign nationals will also be able to travel across the Northern and Southwest land borders for non-essential reasons, such as tourism.
In addition to updated travel guidelines, the Biden administration also announced new testing protocols as well as requirements airlines must follow to make sure foreign travelers have been vaccinated before boarding US-bound flights and are aware of new vaccine rules.
“With science and public health as our guide, the United States has developed a new international air travel system that both enhances the safety of Americans here at home and enhances the safety of international air travel,” the White House statement said.
Until now, most non-US citizens who within the last 14 days had been to Britain, 26 Schengen countries in Europe, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil could not enter the country.
The White House is expected to clarify parallel plans to lift restrictions at land border crossings on November 8 for vaccinated foreign nationals.
Flight bookings soar to the US
According to ForwardKeys, the first announcement in September that the US would reopen to vaccinated foreign travelers in November saw weekly bookings exceed 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels with week-on-week reservations from the UK up by 83 percent, from Brazil by 71 percent, and from the EU by 185 percent.