WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will ease foreign travel restrictions into the U.S. beginning in November, when his administration will require all foreign nationals flying into the country to be fully vaccinated.
All foreign travelers flying to the U.S. will need to demonstrate proof of vaccination before boarding, as well as proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of flight, said White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients, who announced the new policy on Monday. Biden will also tighten testing rules for unvaccinated American citizens, who will need to be tested within a day before returning to the U.S. as well as after they arrive home.
Fully vaccinated passengers will not be required to quarantine, Zeints said.
The new policy replaces a patchwork of travel restrictions first instituted by President Donald Trump last year and tightened by Biden earlier this year that restrict travel by non-citizens who have in the prior 14 days been in the United Kingdom, European Union, China, India, Iran, Republic of Ireland, Brazil and South Africa.
“This is based on individuals rather than a country-based approach, so it’s a stronger system,” Zients said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also require airlines to collect contact information from international travelers to facilitate contact tracing, Zients said.
It was not immediately clear which vaccines would be acceptable under the U.S. system and whether those unapproved in the U.S. could be used. Zients said that decision would be up to the CDC.
The new policy will take effect in “early November,” Zients said, to allow airlines and travel partners time to prepare to implement the new protocols.
The U.S. Government has extended the Canadian border closure until at least Oct. 21, although the Canadians opened their border to vaccinated Americans in August.
Rep. Brian Higgins released the following statement Monday:
“Continued closure of the U.S. border to vaccinated Canadians is completely unnecessary and unexplained.
“It is welcome news that the White House is making progress on reciprocating international public health measures to protect air travelers. Yet it is inexplicable that no announcement on easing travel restrictions at land ports of entry is being made today since the livelihoods of communities across the Northern Border depend on cross-border commerce.
“Canada’s unilateral action to allow Americans to cross the border beginning in August demonstrated what we already knew: vaccines were the turning point that make reopening the border possible. This was substantial progress in our fight to reconnect with our Canadian neighbors, but we need action on the U.S. side. Canada opened its land crossings successfully and the United States should be acting today to do the same.”