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Vaccines, Testing And Tracing: What To Know As The US Updates Its Entry Rules In December / By Sasha Brandy / Lonely Planet / WMWNEWSTURKEY / Jennifer Bar / New York

Vaccines, Testing And Tracing: What To Know As The US Updates Its Entry Rules In December / By Sasha Brandy / Lonely Planet / WMWNEWSTURKEY / Jennifer Bar / New York

After an 18-month ban on most inbound travel, the US is set to update its border rules on November 8, by requiring all foreign visitors to be vaccinated before entering. Here’s what you need to know about the new travel policy.

The US closed its borders to most travelers back in March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While many countries around the world have loosened their restrictions around international travel—including neighboring Canada, which has lifted entry restrictions for vaccinated American and international tourists—the US had lagged behind on updating its border policy. However, this is set to change next month. 

When will travel restrictions be lifted?

The White House will introduce a new policy that will allow for many vaccinated international travelers to visit the US, beginning on November 8. 

On Friday, White House Assistant Press Secretary, Kevin Munoz, tweeted an update on the policy, noting: “The US’ new travel policy that requires vaccination for foreign national travelers to the United States will begin on Nov 8. This announcement and date applies to both international air travel and land travel. This policy is guided by public health, stringent, and consistent”. 

Who can then travel to the US?

At present, travelers who, in the last 14 days, have been in the UK, European Schengen Zone, Republic of Ireland, China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa and India, are barred from the US with few exceptions.

But that will change from November 8 when the US will permit all fully vaccinated international travelers to enter by air, provided they show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of traveling to the US. The US will also open its land borders with Canada and Mexico to vaccinated visitors, however a negative COVID-19 test will not be required, according to the CBC

Travelers who could previously travel to the US without proof of vaccination during the pandemic will also be required to be vaccinated before traveling there from November 8.

They will also need to present a negative COVID-19 test to enter, as before, regardless of vaccination status. The new policy applies to everyone who is not a citizen or permanent resident of the US. 

Travelers will have to wear a mask throughout their journey and provide their telephone number and email address as part of a new contract-tracing system for inbound travelers. 

Read more: England updates international travel rules with a “new, clearer system”

What about returning vaccinated Americans?

Fully vaccinated Americans will only need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before traveling to the US by air, as per CDC guidelines.

What about returning unvaccinated Americans?

US citizens and permanent residents who are not fully vaccinated will still be able to enter the US by air, but they will need to be tested within 24 hours of flight departure time, and undergo testing upon arrival.

What vaccines does the US accept for travel?

The CDC accepts vaccines authorised by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which currently include the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson jabs. 

The government also announced it will allow vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation for emergency use such as AstraZeneca, which is widely used throughout Europe, and China’s Sinovac.

Will I need a health pass?

Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test are increasingly required for aspects of daily life in the US, such as eating indoors, going to a museum or tourist site, or attending concerts and large events.

But the patchwork of rules surrounding these passes can be a little confusing, particularly as there is no standardized system in the US. So what you need and where you’re expected to use it depends on where you’re going.

INew York City, for example, proof of vaccination is required to dine or drink indoors at restaurants, bars and cafes; and to visit gyms, fitness classes, theaters and other entertainment venues.

Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result are needed to gain entry to similar venues in New Orleans, and in O’ahu and Maui in Hawaii.

In California, proof of vaccination is required across many indoor venues in San Francisco and in Los Angeles County. It’s also needed to visit theme parks such as Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags

There are other cities and counties across the US where proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test is required as a condition of entry, so always check ahead before planning any travel. As a tourist, you’ll need to have proof of vaccination to enter the US regardless,  so it’s a good idea to keep that proof with you at all times to reduce the risk of being denied entry to certain places.

You might also like:
Planning a European trip? These countries are tightening restrictions for US travelers
Americans and Europeans can travel to Britain without quarantining from AugustThis article was first published on September 20, 2021 and updated on October 18, 2021

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