COVID-19: United States Lifts Certain Travel Restrictions Effective 8 November 2021

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K&L Gates LLP

On 15 October 2021, the Biden Administration announced that the United States would lift COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States beginning 8 November 2021. These restrictions have largely prevented foreign nationals from entering the United States for the majority of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the United States plans to lift the travel bans currently in place for travelers entering the United States from Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Limited exceptions to the requirement that foreign nationals entering the United States be fully vaccinated are expected for unvaccinated children, COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants, and those traveling for an important reason who lack access to vaccination in a timely manner.

As of 15 October 2021, neither the U.S. Department of State nor the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued official guidelines or protocols concerning the updated international travel requirements. However, the CDC announced that “for purposes of entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include FDA approved or authorized and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines.” Notwithstanding the vaccination requirement, international travelers into the United States likely will be expected to comply with existing COVID-19 testing requirements before entry into the United States.

Key Takeaways

  • Businesses should work with counsel to assess the impact on their foreign workforce mobility.
  • Businesses should expect an increase in employee requests or questions concerning international travel.
  • International travelers (including U.S. Citizens) should be prepared to comply with updated testing requirements (in addition to the new vaccination requirements) for entry into the United States. 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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