Sept. 21, 2021 -- The U.S. will lift travel restrictions in November for international travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including visitors from the U.K. and European Union.
The White House announced Monday that visitors will be required to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test taken within 3 days of departure.
“We know vaccines are effective, including against the Delta variant, and vaccines are the best line of defense against COVID, so this vaccination requirement deploys the best tool we have in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of the virus,” Jeff Zients, coordinator of the White House COVID-19 Response Team, told reporters.
As for U.S. citizens, those who are unvaccinated will face tougher rules when returning home. They will need to test 1 day before departure and then test again after arrival.
The change will take effect in early November, with the idea of spurring holiday bookings. Airlines and travel industry groups have called for the U.S. to lift restrictions for months, CNBC reported.
European officials have called on the Biden administration to remove restrictions. The U.K. and European Union lifted bans for U.S. visitors and others as vaccines became widely available earlier this year, CNBC reported.
“Leisure bookings for the holidays from inbound tourist visits and non-U.S. citizens visiting friends and relatives will accelerate in upcoming weeks,” Jonathan Root, senior vice president at Moody’s Investors Service, told CNBC.
“We also now expect a stronger increase in business travel by the first quarter of 2022 than would have occurred if the borders remained closed,” he said.
The CDC will require airlines to provide passenger information to help with contact tracing, Zients said. In the coming weeks, the CDC will issue an order that requires airlines to collect contact information such as emails and phone numbers.
The new travel rules will include a few exemptions from vaccine requirements. Children who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, for instance, will not be required to be vaccinated. Full details will be released soon, CNBC reported.
The CDC is also deciding which vaccines will be recognized under the policy, according to Bloomberg News. People will likely be considered “fully vaccinated” and eligible for entry into the U.S. when they have received the full course of a shot listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization. This includes several vaccines not approved by the FDA, such as those manufactured by AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, and Sinovac.