Travelers from over 30 countries will be able to enter the United States of America (USA) from November 8, 2021.
Visitors from these nations have been prohibited from entering the US for much of the pandemic — many for as long as 21 months.
Starting from November 8, passengers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will now be allowed to travel to the United States. They will need a vaccination certificate in addition to the usual entry requirements, such as a US ESTA or visa.
American authorities have also confirmed that vaccinated travelers will not have to quarantine upon arrival in the US.
The news has been welcomed by governments as well as many people in the 33 affected countries who have been unable to visit family in the States or whose livelihoods depend on travel.
Which Travelers Will Be Allowed to Enter the US With a Vaccination Certificate?
The latest announcement means that travelers arriving from 33 countries will now be able to enter the United States.
Previously, anyone who had been in these places within 14 days before arriving in America was not allowed to enter, except for essential reasons.
According to the new rules, passengers arriving from these locations will now be allowed to enter the country as long as they have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus.
From November 8, 2021, travel will be possible for vaccinated individuals from the following countries:
- South Africa
- The UK
- All 26 countries in the European Schengen Area
In addition, land borders with Canada and Mexico will also be opened for fully vaccinated travelers.
What will travelers need to enter the United States?
Passengers arriving from the 33 countries in question will need the following items to gain entry into the US:
- Vaccination certificate showing full vaccination at least 14 days before arrival
- Negative test result from the past 72 hours
- Valid ESTA (Ireland, UK, and Schengen countries)
- Valid US visa (Brazil, China, India, Iran, and South Africa)
- Valid EVUS enrollment (China only)
Vaccination requirements are expected to be extended to all foreign nationals, regardless of what country they are traveling from.
The general COVD-19 regulations may vary from state to state within the US, so it is important to check before traveling.
Measures such as mask-wearing and sanitizing hands are recommended even in areas where they are not mandatory.
How US COVID-19 Travel Rules Have Changed
Like many countries, the United States put various coronavirus travel restrictions in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Non-essential travel from most of the 33 states mentioned above has been prohibited for 21 months.
Then-President Donald Trump first banned air travel from China in January 2020.
This was soon extended to various other countries. There was no clear indication how long these historic measures would remain in place.
Critics have pointed out that taking this policy, while allowing unrestricted travel from other locations, made little sense. However, the measure persisted.
In January 2021, Trump announced that travel restrictions from Europe and Brazil would be lifted, but the incoming Biden administration reversed this decision.
With improvements in the number of COVID-19 cases and a large proportion of the US population now vaccinated, there has been growing pressure to reopen borders to the 33 countries under the travel ban.
Back in September, the US announced that it planned to lift travel restrictions for vaccinated passengers, but did not specify when travelers from the 33 countries would be allowed in.
Now, the date has been set. November 8, 2021 will see fully vaccinated passengers from the Schengen Area countries (including France, Germany, and Spain), as well as the UK, Ireland, China, and South Africa able to go to the US once more.
Praise for Move to Admit Vaccinated Travelers
Various figures both in the travel and tourism industries and in foreign governments have welcomed the decision to allow vaccinated passengers to enter the US.
America’s reluctance to reopen travel has caused friction with a number of the banned countries, many of which are considered close allies to the United States.
Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, praised the move to permit entry, saying it reflected the success of the vaccination rollout worldwide:
“The UK will now be able to strengthen ties with our most important economic partner, the US, boosting trade and tourism as well as reuniting friends, families and business colleagues.”
The reopening of travel is also highly beneficial to the US itself. More than US$250 billion has been lost in income due to the drop in the number of visitors from abroad, according to US Travel Association Chief Executive Roger Dow.
Nick Calio, chief executive of the Airlines for America industry trade group, said:
“The full reopening of international travel is also critical to reviving economies around the globe, reinvigorating communities and supporting millions of jobs in the US and abroad.”