The United States of America has lifted travel restrictions for fully vaccinated passengers. Visitors can now enter the US from over 30 countries that were previously banned.
Borders reopen on November 8, 2021, allowing unrestricted travel for individuals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The US has maintained tight coronavirus travel restrictions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to lift them is a significant move towards a return to normality.
It marks the first time in over a year and a half that non-essential travel has been permitted from 33 countries to the United States.
Foreign nationals can now visit the US once again, complying with the usual United States visa policy.
The European Union’s ambassador in the US, Stavros Lambrinidis, praised the decision, calling it “important and very welcome news”.
The US has also brought an end to the travel restrictions at its land borders with both Canada and Mexico. Again, vaccination is necessary.
Who Can Travel to the US With a Vaccination Certificate?
Anyone who has been fully vaccinated against coronavirus can now visit the US, providing they have a certificate.
However, this update in the US’s entry policy comes as good news to those traveling from 33 countries in particular. Travel had previously been banned from these states for most of the pandemic.
Many of these banned countries are part of the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The decision to lift travel restrictions means citizens of these nations can visit the US visa-free once again by registering online with the ESTA.
Unrestricted travel is now possible to vaccinated passengers arriving from the following 33 previously banned countries:
- The 26 member states of the Schengen Area
- The Republic of Ireland
- South Africa
- The United Kingdom (UK)
US land border restrictions lifted for vaccinated travelers
As well as the lifting of restrictions for the 33 countries mentioned above, the USA has reopened travel via its land borders.
Non-essential travel from Canada and Mexico is now permitted by land.
Like passengers arriving by air, land travelers are required to have a vaccination certificate.
Conditions for Visiting the US
All foreign adults must have a COVID-19 vaccination certificate to enter the US. Children (under 18) are exempt. Other exceptions may be made for those with a legitimate medical reason.
The certificate must show that the traveler received their final dose a minimum of 15 days before arriving in the United States.
Accepted vaccines include the following:
- Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
Travelers must also test negative for COVID-19 within one day before setting off. They must bring the test result to gain entry to the US.
The Path to Reopening the Borders
The plan to reopen the borders to travelers from the banned countries has been in the works for some time.
Both the 33 countries from which travel was banned and leading figures in the US travel and tourism industry had been calling to lift restrictions. The impact of the pandemic on the US economy was a big factor in pressuring the Biden administration to consider reopening.
The US first announced it would lift travel restrictions for vaccinated passengers in September 2021.
In October 2021, American authorities announced that the US would open to 33 countries from November 8.
The US has followed through with the plan and lifted restrictions from these countries on November 8.
Land border restrictions with Canada and Mexico have also come to an end.
According to White House spokesman Kevin Munoz, the policy “is guided by public health, stringent, and consistent.”