Vaccinated travelers authorized to enter the United States

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To advance the safe resumption of global travel during the COVID-⁠19 pandemic, on October 25, President Biden issued a Proclamation stressing the continuation of reinforced measures against the spread of the virus. The proclamation cites data indicating that the most effective way to control the spread among international travelers is to get vaccinated, in addition to other measures such as wearing a mask.

As reported on this blog on September 21, the president eased travel restrictions for foreign nationals from China, Iran, Schengen area, UK, Brazil, Ireland, South Africa South and India, and imposed new travel requirements for travelers from all other countries.

When are travel restrictions lifted?

The Proclamation applies to all travelers on flights scheduled to arrive in the United States after 12:01 a.m. EST on November 8, 2021.

What are the new travel requirements?

All adults aged 18 and over traveling on nonimmigrant visas such as ESTA, B-1 / B-2, L-1, E-2, H-1B, E-3 and the corresponding dependent visas must provide proof of vaccination and proof of a negative COVID-19 test performed within three days of boarding their flight to the United States.

Who is exempt?

  • Certain holders of diplomatic visas;

  • Foreign nationals who are too old or too young to obtain the vaccine, as determined by the CDC;

  • Foreign nationals participating in certain clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccination, as determined by the CDC;

  • Foreign nationals who, for health reasons, cannot be vaccinated, as determined by the CDC;

  • Foreign nationals to whom the CDC has granted an exemption for humanitarian or emergency reasons;

  • Foreign nationals of countries where vaccine availability is limited (i.e., less than 10% of the population is fully immunized) and seeking to enter the United States on a nonimmigrant visa (except for B-1 visas / B-2);

  • Foreign nationals who are members of the United States armed forces or foreign nationals who are spouses / children of a member of the United States armed forces;

  • Foreign nationals seeking entry as a sea crew member; and or

  • Foreign nationals whose entry would be in the national interest of the United States.

The CDC has been tasked with providing details of the above exceptions and specifying acceptable vaccines or vaccine combinations and acceptable evidence to prove that an individual is fully vaccinated. There will also be additional requirements for those who are not vaccinated and can still enter the United States, including the requirement to be vaccinated within 60 days of arrival.

What vaccines are acceptable?

The Proclamation relies on Advice from the CDC about acceptable vaccines, which include:

What is considered acceptable proof of vaccination?

Again, the Biden administration relies on the CDC’s list of acceptable evidence vaccination including:

  • Personal identifiers (at a minimum, full name and date of birth) that match the personal identifiers on the passenger’s passport or other travel documents

  • Name of official source issuing the record (for example, public health body, government agency or other authorized vaccine supplier)

  • Vaccine manufacturer and date (s) of vaccination

How will this affect visa processing at U.S. consulates abroad?

The Proclamation states that this only applies to international air travel to the United States and does not affect visa issuance, but that the United States Department of State may continue to process visa applications without the exception of interest. national. The US Department of State has issued a declaration reiterating that embassies and consulates will not necessarily be able to issue US visas any faster. This has been a problem throughout the pandemic; it remains to be seen how visa issuance is affected by the new travel requirements for vaccines.

What about travel from Canada and Mexico?

The Ministry of Homeland Security announcement On October 12, changes to travel restrictions in Canada and Mexico will be implemented in two phases over the next few months. The first phase, which will begin in early November, will allow fully vaccinated travelers (with valid documents proving their vaccination status) from Mexico or Canada to enter the United States through land and sea ports of entry for not essential the reasons. The second phase, which will begin in January 2022, will require all travelers crossing land or sea entry points (for essential or non-essential reasons) to be fully vaccinated.

© 2021 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. Revue nationale de droit, volume XI, number 301

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