COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements for Travel to the United States – Are Your Employees Prepared? | Snell & Wilmer


As of 12:01 am today, Presidential Proclamation 10294 Took effect. This proclamation rescinds geographic travel bans in the event of a pandemic and instead implements certain COVID-19 vaccine requirements for all international air travelers to the United States

The Proclamation governs the entry into the United States of non-immigrants traveling to the United States by air. With few exceptions, it suspends the entry of non-immigrant non-citizens who are not vaccinated and requires that those requesting an exception adhere to the health and safety requirements determined by the director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC). .

Some important pieces to note:

  • Travel bans that restricted travel for people from China (PP 9984), Iran (PP 9992), the Schengen area, UK and Ireland, Brazil, South Africa South (PP 10143) and India (PP 10199) are now lifted.
  • The Proclamation suspends the entry into the United States of certain persons by air. Separately, the Department of Homeland Security published details for those entering at land and sea border crossings.
  • By a correspondent White House Fact Sheet, travelers will need to provide proof of vaccination to airlines boarding a plane to the United States, which in turn:
    • Match the name and date of birth to the information on the vaccination record.
    • Determine that the dossier was indeed issued by an official source (public health agency, government agency or approved vaccine supplier) in the country where it was delivered.
    • Review the information to determine if the vaccination meets the CDC’s definition of complete vaccination, including whether it is approved or authorized by the FDA or included on the WHO List emergency vaccines. They are:
      • Janssen / Johnson & Johnson (single dose)
      • Pfizer-BioNTech
      • Moderna
      • AstraZeneca
      • Covishield
      • BIBP / Sinopharm
      • Sinovac
  • In his Technical instructions, the CDC identified three categories of documentation considered acceptable evidence of COVID-19 vaccination:
    • Verifiable digital or paper records: this includes, but is not limited to, examples such as vaccination certificates or digital passes accessible via a QR code (such as the UK NHS COVID Pass and the COVID digital certificate of the European Union).
    • Unverifiable paper records: A paper vaccination record or COVID-19 vaccination certificate issued by a national or subnational level or by an authorized vaccine supplier (such as the CDC vaccination card).
    • Non-verifiable digital records: digital photos of the vaccination card or record, or a downloaded recorder of a vaccination certificate from an official source (eg QR code.
  • The Proclamation does not apply to citizens of the United States, lawful permanent residents, or persons traveling on an immigrant visa. Nevertheless, who apply for an overseas immigrant visa or seek to adjust their status from the United States are required to receive, among other vaccinations, an authorized COVID-19 vaccination effective October 1, 2021.
  • The Proclamation also provides for several exceptions to the vaccine requirement. They understand:
    • Children under 18.
    • Those who have participated in certain clinical trials for COVID-19.
    • Those for whom the approved COVID-19 vaccination is medically contraindicated.
    • Those to whom the CDC director has granted humanitarian or emergency exceptions in limited circumstances for people who must travel to the United States for their health and safety and who are unable to meet the vaccine requirement before doing so.
    • Citizens of a country with less than 10% of the population vaccinated with an available COVID-19 vaccine, seeking to enter the United States under a nonimmigrant visa, except a B visa -1 / B-2.
    • Members of the United States Armed Forces and their spouses.
    • Those whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretaries of State, Transport, Homeland Security or their representatives.
  • Although the above categories of people are excluded from the vaccination requirement, these people will be subject to more rigorous testing requirements as well as the obligation to be vaccinated against COVID-19 within 60 days of their arrival in the United States (with limited exceptions).
  • There is no exception to the vaccine requirement for religious reasons or other moral beliefs under the Presidential Proclamation.
  • Through CDC Guidelines, all air passengers (including U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and foreign nationals traveling to the United States on immigrant or nonimmigrant visas) are required to present a negative COVID-19 viral test result , within a timeframe based on their immunization status, or present documents showing that you have recovered from COVID-19 within the past 90 days.
    • Fully vaccinated: no more than three days.
    • Not fully vaccinated: Not more than one day.
  • Children aged 2 to 17 will need to take a pre-departure test.

Employers should consider planning any international travel well in advance to avoid potential delays. Additionally, employers can advise employees to seek prompt assistance early on in overcoming administrative hurdles. For example, airlines and other aircraft operators must be able to confirm proof of vaccination. If the documents are in a language other than English, the airline may require a translation before accepting the document. Finally, employers should regularly check government publications to ensure they have the latest guidelines on the subject.

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