On October 25, 2021, President Biden issued Presidential Proclamation 10294 revoking the country-specific geographic travel restrictions and mandating COVID-19 vaccines for all international air travelers to the U.S. Starting 12:01am November 8, 2021, noncitizen nonimmigrant air travelers to the U.S. must be fully vaccinated as defined by the CDC.
CDC is currently accepting vaccines approved/authorized by the FDA and WHO, including:
- Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Single Dose)
Individuals will be considered fully vaccinated after two weeks of receipt of the last dose of a vaccine, the first dose of an approved single-dose vaccine, or any combination of two doses of an approved vaccine (mix and match). Under very limited exceptions, noncitizen nonimmigrants who are not fully vaccinated may enter the U.S. by air travel if they agree and arrange to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 after arriving in the U.S.
The Proclamation does not apply to United States citizens, lawful permanent residents, or those traveling on immigrant visas. Additionally, the following groups are exempt, and should comply with CDC requirements on how to evidence eligibility for the exception:
- Children:Children under the age of 18.
- Clinical Trials: Those who have participated or are participating in clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccination, as determined by the CDC Director.
- Contraindications: Those for whom approved COVID-19 vaccination is medically contraindicated. A letter must be provided to the airline from a licensed physician documenting the contraindication before boarding.
- Humanitarian and Emergency Exceptions: Those granted humanitarian or emergency exceptions by the Director of the CDC in limited circumstances for individuals who need to travel to the U.S. for their health and safety and are unable to complete the vaccine requirement before doing so.
- Limited Vaccine Availability: Citizens of a country with less than 10% of the population vaccinated with any available COVID-19 vaccine, who seek to enter the United States pursuant to a nonimmigrant visa, except for a B-1/B-2 visa.
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their Spouses and Children: These individuals will need to show a U.S. military identification document, such as a military ID, Common Access Card, DEERS ID card, or other proof that the individual is a member or spouse/child of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces.
- National Interest Exceptions: Those whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretaries of State, Transportation, Homeland Security or their designees.
- Diplomats or Persons on Official Government Travel: Individuals seeking entry pursuant to the following visa classifications: A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of an official), E-1 (as an employee of TECRO or TECO or the employee’s immediate family members), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6 (or seeking to enter as a nonimmigrant in one of those NATO classifications).
- United Nations Travel: Individuals whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the UN Headquarters Agreement or who is traveling pursuant to United States legal obligation.
- Sea Crew Members: Individuals seeking entry as sea crew members traveling pursuant to C-1 and D visas, provided the crew member adheres to industry standards for the prevention of COVID-19.
- Airline Crew Members: Individuals seeking entry to the United States as a crew member on official duty assigned by the airline or aircraft operator that involves operation of aircraft, or the positioning of crew not operating the aircraft (i.e., on “deadhead” status, or are maintenance personnel or contractors whose travel purpose is for flight operation or the safety of the aircraft, are also exempt if they are operating under an air carrier’s or operator’s occupational health and safety program.
All vaccinated individuals, including American citizens, lawful permanent residents, and foreign nationals traveling to the United States on immigrant or nonimmigrant visas, will be required to produce a negative viral test (NAAT or PCR) result within three calendar days of travel to the United States, or before boarding the first flight in a series of connection to the United States.
Unvaccinated travelers, whether U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, or those who qualify for an exception under the Proclamation, will be required to show documentation of a negative test taken within one day of travel to the United States.
Children have special testing protocols. Children between the ages of 2 and 17 will be required to take a pre-departure test as follows:
- If the child is traveling with a fully vaccinated adult, but is not vaccinated, the child can show proof of a negative viral test taken within three calendar days before departure.
- If the child is traveling alone, the child will be subject to the same testing requirements as unvaccinated adults.
The CDC is charged with setting the parameters of these entry requirements so it is important to refer frequently back to the CDC guidance noted above. If you have questions on how these travel requirements may impact your upcoming travel, please contact SPS Immigration.