On September 20, 2021, the White House announced that it would revamp travel restrictions for international travelers entering the United States. These changes will take effect in early November 2021. The new policy will replace country-specific travel bans with a policy that applies to all people, regardless of their country of origin or physical presence, depending on status. vaccine and COVID-19 tests.
As a reminder, the Trump and Biden administrations have implemented numerous COVID-related travel bans over the past 18 months. These travel bans require that people in one of the affected regions or countries be granted either an exception to the ban or a quarantine in a third country for 14 days before entering the United States. A number of people are exempt from these prohibitions, including US citizens, permanent residents, and certain close relatives of US citizens and permanent residents.
Our immigration resource page has a broad overview of all Travel bans to the United States.
New White House travel policy will focus on individual requirements for entry into the United States
The White House announcement represents a significant policy change.
The new policy will be uniform and will focus on an individual’s immunization status. Travelers to the United States must prove that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and also produce a negative COVID-19 test issued within three days of boarding a flight to the United States. According to the White House announcement, unvaccinated travelers can still enter the United States, but must provide a negative COVID test taken within one day of boarding a flight to the United States, and must prove that ‘they bought a viral test, to take after arrival.
The CDC will also conduct contact tracing and require airlines to collect contact information from all travelers in the United States, so that anyone exposed to COVID-19 can be notified.
In contrast, the current system creates significant burdens for many people in a country or region with a COVID-related travel ban. The entry suspension for foreign nationals currently applies to physical presence in the following countries: China (excluding Hong Kong and Macao), Iran, Brazil, India, United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, and Schengen area of Europe comprising Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
The White House announcement did not indicate whether this policy would be implemented for border crossings at the US-Canada and US-Mexico borders. These restrictions on non-essential travel remain in place.
More details on this new travel requirement will be forthcoming. The White House has said it is aiming for implementation in early November to give airlines and travelers enough time to prepare for the new entry requirements.
© 1994-2021 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, PC All rights reserved.Revue nationale de droit, volume XI, number 265