White House Announces Relaxation of COVID-19–Related Travel Restrictions to the United States, Beginning on November 8, 2021

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
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As a follow-up to its September 20, 2021 announcement, the White House announced on October 15, 2021, that it would lift the travel ban for fully vaccinated foreign nationals starting November 8, 2021. The lifting of COVID-19–related travel restrictions will apply to land border entries as well as for air travel to the United States.

The new travel policy, which will affect the travel bans currently in place for persons entering the United States from Brazil, China, India, Iran, the Schengen Area countries in Europe, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, will apply only to those travelers who are fully vaccinated. Proof of vaccination and proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test will be required prior to boarding flights to the United States. Likewise, foreign visitors crossing a U.S. land border will need to show proof of vaccination, but not of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter the United States.

Unvaccinated travelers will still be subject to the travel restrictions put in place in early 2020.

Although details regarding which vaccines will be acceptable for travel purposes have not yet been confirmed by the White House, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spokesperson confirmed on October 11, 2021, that only those vaccines approved or authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) will be accepted for international travelers seeking to enter the United States. The acceptable vaccines include the following:

  • FDA-Authorized/Approved: Moderna, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen, and Pfizer-BioNTech
  • WHO-Approved: Moderna, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen, Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Oxford-AstraZeneca/Covishield, Sinopharm, and Sinovac

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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