Note: This article was originally published on Nov. 29, 2021. It was updated on Dec. 03, 2021 to provide additional requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) following new travel guidance announced by President Biden on Dec. 02, 2021.
Dec. 03 Update: New guidance from the CDC states that beginning 12:01 AM EST on Monday, Dec. 06, 2021, all inbound travelers aged 2 and older who plan to enter the U.S. by air must either provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result (taken within 24 hours of departure) or verify recovery from infection. An antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) are both cited as sufficient tests for the protocol. This testing requirement applies to all inbound air travelers aged 2 and older, regardless of citizenship, immigration, or vaccination status.
Individuals who have been infected by COVID-19 and recovered may present documentation of their recovery and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official clearing the individual for travel. Travelers seeking to qualify for entry based on recovery from COVID-19 should consult the full guidance from the CDC about documentation required as proof of recovery from the disease.
Dec. 02 Update: In response to increasing concerns about the new Omicron variant circulating worldwide, President Biden has announced additional protocols for international travel. Starting next week (an exact time has not yet been announced) all inbound international travelers must get a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of departure to the U.S. This requirement applies to all travelers, regardless of vaccination status and nationality.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to soon provide additional guidance confirming all travelers must show a negative result to their airline before boarding an inbound U.S. flight. Further, clarification is expected on testing for children under the age of 2, which has not been required previously.
Additionally, all travelers must wear masks on airplanes, trains and other forms of public transportation. Masks must also be worn in transportation hubs. This requirement will remain in effect through March 18, 2022. Noncompliance will result in fines.
Nov. 29 Update: Effective Nov. 29, 2021, a new White House proclamation is temporarily banning travel from South Africa and seven other southern African countries due to COVID-19. With the exception of most travelers from southern Africa, fully vaccinated travelers are still allowed to enter the U.S. at this time.
Oct. 15 Update: According to news reports, the White House has indicated that the U.S. government will lift country-specific COVID-19 restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers on Nov. 8, 2021.
The admission of fully vaccinated travelers into the country will end travel restrictions that have impacted persons present in more than 30 countries. The lifting of these travel restrictions will permit otherwise eligible travelers from the following countries to enter the U.S.: Schengen Zone, Brazil, China, India, Ireland, South Africa, the U.K. and Iran.
An official government publication is still forthcoming. Envoy Global and Global Immigration Associates (GIA) will provide additional information and guidance once the White House statement is available.
UPDATE: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced a list of vaccines that it will permit for entry into the U.S. in November. The following vaccines have been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
- Johnson & Johnson
At this time, the Biden administration has not provided other specifics, including the exact effective date of the new policy and any possible exemptions from the vaccination requirement. This article will be updated when more information becomes available.
The Biden administration will announce that fully vaccinated visa holders may enter the U.S. starting in November regardless of origin.
Many visa holders present in China, Iran, the Schengen Area, U.K., Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, and India have been unable to travel to the U.S. on account of multiple presidential proclamations put in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19. The administration plans to rescind those proclamations and replace with vaccination requirements for adult foreign nationals traveling to the United States. Although the government has not yet released an official written statement on the upcoming travel modifications, the anticipated requirements for adult visa travelers are:
- Provide proof of full vaccination from a CDC-approved vaccine
- Provide negative COVID-19 test results, taken within three days of travel
- Wear a mask when traveling
- Provide a phone number and email address for contract tracing
The change is anticipated for early November.
Unvaccinated Americans who are traveling outside of the country must provide a negative COVID-19 test with results taken one day before they return to the U.S. They must also provide proof they have purchased a viral test to be taken after arrival.
We are currently waiting for an official announcement from the White House regarding the upcoming travel changes in November, including effective dates, which vaccines the CDC will accept, and other relevant travel information.
Updates will be provided as available.
Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Anne Walsh and Ian Love, who are Partners at Global Immigration Associates (GIA), one of the two independent U.S. law firms Envoy exclusively works with on the Envoy Platform (the "U.S. Law Firms").
Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at one of the two U.S. Law Firms working with the Envoy Platform or another qualified professional. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult an Envoy global immigration service provider or another qualified representative.