Passengers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to fly to the US from anywhere in the world from November, the Biden administration has announced, bringing an end to the series of travel bans first imposed by former US President Donald Trump 18 months ago.
These will include those holding B1/B2 tourist visas as long they are fully vaccinated and get an RT-PCR test. The White House said on Monday that travellers would have to show proof of having been fully vaccinated and a negative test taken in the previous three days, starting in early November. They will also have to wear a mask for the journey and share their telephone number and email address for contact tracing.
Since last year, people without US citizenship, green cards or specific exemptions have been banned from travelling to the US if they have been in the UK, Ireland, the Schengen area, China, India, Iran, South Africa or Brazil in the previous 14 days.
“This vaccination requirement deploys the best tool we have in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of the virus,” said White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients.
“Vaccines continue to show that they’re highly effective, including against the delta variant, and the new system allows us to implement strict protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Zients added.
Travellers will need to show proof of full vaccination prior to boarding US-bound planes. A COVID-19 test will also continue to be required within three days of departure and proof of negative results must be shown.
“Unvaccinated Americans returning to the US will be “subject to stricter testing requirements,” Zients said, and adding that they will need to test within one day of departure with another test required upon arrival.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be issuing a contact tracing order, requiring airlines to collect information from US-bound travellers, including phone number and email address. Airlines will be required to keep contact tracing information for 30 days, CNN reported.