Vaccine and Covid Testing Requirements for International Travel in Effect | Dentons
As states, employers and the federal government vie for vaccination mandates for employees, the vaccination mandate for international travelers entering the United States by air took effect on November 8, 2021.
The requirement was imposed by the presidential proclamation of October 25, 2021 Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During COVID-??19 Pandemic, which also ended the presidential proclamations restricting the entry of China, Iran, the Schengen area of Europe, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Brazil, the Republic of ‘South Africa and India.
At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) changed their prescription, Proof of negative COVID-19 test or COVID-19 recovery proof requirement for all air passengers arriving in the United States, which applies to all air passengers two years of age or older.
Who is affected?
Foreign travelers entering by air are subject to both vaccination and testing requirements.
US citizens, nationals, and “green card” holders (permanent residents of the United States) are subject to testing requirements, which are less stringent for those who are vaccinated.
Foreign travelers entering the United States by air must now be fully immunized or have an exception.
Who is “fully vaccinated”?
A person is “fully vaccinated” 14 days after receiving the last dose of an acceptable series of vaccines. For example, if the last dose was on October 1, the person was fully immunized on October 15.
Acceptable vaccine series are:
A fact of Janssen / Johnson & Johnson
Two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna
Two doses of AstraZeneca, Covaxin, Covishield, BIBP / Sinopharm or Sinovac
A combination of two doses of accepted Covid vaccines given at least 17 days apart
Complete series of a Covid vaccine accepted (no placebo) in a clinical trial
Complete series of Novavax (or Covovax) Covid vaccine (no placebo) in phase 3 clinical trial
Who is exempt from vaccination requirements?
The following travelers can enter the United States by air without being fully vaccinated:
Persons on diplomatic or official travel from a foreign government
Children under 18
People with documented medical contraindications to receiving a Covid vaccine
Participants in certain Covid vaccine trials
People benefiting from a humanitarian or emergency exemption
Members of the United States Armed Forces or their spouses or children (under 18)
Sea crew members traveling on a C-1 and D nonimmigrant visa
People with valid visas (with the exception of visitor visas B-1 or B-2) who are citizens of a country where the availability of the Covid vaccine is limited
Persons whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, Secretary of Transport or Secretary of Homeland Security (or their representatives)
Emergency or humanitarian exceptions will be limited and other exceptions must be carefully documented. The purpose of the Proclamation is to encourage vaccination to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Travelers using any of these exceptions must agree to certain self-quarantine tests and measures after entry. Those who will stay in the United States longer than 60 days must agree to be vaccinated and have arranged to be fully vaccinated within 60 days of arrival or as soon as medically appropriate (with the exception of children too young to be vaccinated).
And the entry by land?
Currently, vaccination requirements do not apply to foreign travelers crossing for “essential reasons” at a land port or ferry terminal. Foreign travelers over the age of 18 entering for non-essential purposes should be vaccinated as outlined above.
The vaccination requirement should be extended to all foreign travelers, including those entering for essential reasons from early January 2022, subject to the exceptions noted for entry by air.
“Essential reasons” include, but are not limited to:
For medical purposes (for example, to receive medical treatment in the United States)
Attendance at educational institutions
Work in the United States
Emergency response and public health purposes (for example, government officials or emergency responders entering the United States to support efforts by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial governments to respond to COVID-19 or ‘other emergencies).
Engage in lawful cross-border trade (for example, truck drivers handling the movement of goods between the United States and Canada and Mexico)
Take official government trips or diplomatic trips
Participate in military trips or operations
The good news about this change is that “non-essential” travelers who are vaccinated or exempt from vaccination requirements can enter through land ports, which was not allowed until now.
Fully vaccinated air travelers over two years of age must have a negative Covid test within three days of boarding the plane to return or proof of recovery from Covid within the past 90 days. The test or retrieval requirement does not apply to entries originating in the United States (American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and United States Virgin Islands).
Travelers over two years of age who are not fully vaccinated, even if they are exempt from being vaccinated, must have a negative Covid test within one day of boarding the plane or proof of recovery from Covid at in the last 90 days.
Testing exemptions may be granted by the CDC in emergency medical situations on a limited basis, such as medical evacuation.
No Covid test is required for overland entry at this time.
Good news, but only half the battle
The removal of Covid entry restrictions based on the country of disembarkation is a big step forward in facilitating trade and family reunification. For international travel to the United States to fully recover, United States consulates and embassies must be staffed and the availability of visa appointments must be restored. While NIEs (National Interest Exceptions) are a thing of the past, requesting an emergency appointment or finding a US Consulate in another country is still necessary for travelers from many countries in which appointments are made. you visa are limited.