After 18 months, the U.S. travel ban has been lifted!! In an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and allow for safe air transit, the White House has implemented COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements for international travelers entering the U.S. Before boarding your flight, check with your airline to ensure you meet all travel criteria to board your international flight to the U.S.
Beginning today, November 8, 2021, all J-1 exchange visitors (age 18 or older at the time of travel) will be required to show proof of vaccination prior to arrival in the United States. This global vaccine requirement coincides with the rescission of the travel restrictions previously established under Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 10143, and 10199.
NEW INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS
Vaccine & Testing Requirements to Enter the U.S.
- Proof of Vaccination - REQUIRED - All non-U.S. citizen, non-U.S. immigrants traveling to the United States by air are required to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Only limited exceptions apply. Participants should ensure their vaccine and proof of vaccination are acceptable to board a flight to the United States.
- Testing - REQUIRED - Before boarding a flight to the United States, international travelers are required to show one of the following: (very limited exceptions are available)
- Proof of vaccination AND a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than 3 days before travel, or
- Proof of vaccination AND evidence of having recovered from COVID-19.
If a traveler recently recovered from COVID-19, they may instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that they were cleared to travel).
- Contact Tracing Information - REQUIRED - All air passengers to the United States will also be required to provide contact information to airlines before boarding flights to the United States. This strengthens a travel process already in place to rapidly identify and contact people in the U.S. who may have been exposed to a communicable disease, such as COVID-19.
Guidance During and After Travel
It is important to maintain safety measures during travel and after arriving to the U.S. The following actions should be considered:
- Masks - REQUIRED - Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required in indoor areas of public transportation (including on airplanes) traveling into, within, or out of the United States and indoors in U.S. transportation hubs (including airports).
- Post-Arrival Testing and Monitoring - RECOMMENDED
- Get tested with a COVID-19 viral test 3-5 days after travel. Find a U.S. COVID-19 testing location near you in the US.
- Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
- Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements after travel.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do the new rules affect people from banned countries?
Individuals from these countries can fly to the United States (or drive, if coming from Mexico or Canada) as they did before the pandemic, provided they can show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test.
The CDC will also issue an order directing airlines to collect phone numbers and email addresses of travelers for a new contact-tracing system. Additional details of the contact-tracing system have not yet been outlined. Unvaccinated people who are not American citizens will not be permitted to enter the United States.
Which vaccines will be accepted?
The United States will accept vaccines that are FDA approved or authorized and World Health Organization (WHO) emergency use listed (EUL) vaccines. This includes Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech, two versions of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Sinopharm and Sinovac.
Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is not currently on the accepted list, meaning many Russian participants and others inoculated with Sputnik V may currently be prohibited from entering the United States. We will continue to monitor CDC guidance and travel requirements for updates.
What does fully vaccinated mean?
According to the CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. “Mix and match” vaccines, an inoculation strategy involving a first dose of one vaccine and a second dose of a different vaccine, will be accepted as long as each dose involved is an accepted vaccine.
What kinds of tests meet the testing requirement?
Travelers must show documentation of a negative viral COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 within the past 90 days before boarding a plane to the United States (or before boarding the first flight in a series of connections booked on the same itinerary to the United States).
- Both nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs), such as a PCR test, and antigen tests qualify.
- A self-test can be used if it meets the requirements of the order including real-time proctoring by a telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test and that generates a test result that can be reviewed by the airline before boarding.
- This is the same standard for qualifying tests that has applied to the pre-departure testing requirement since January.
- More information on the types of viral tests is available here.
How do the new rules affect people from countries that were not on the banned list?
The new policy applies to everyone who is not a U.S. citizen, including individuals from countries whose citizens have been able to fly to the United States throughout the pandemic. Although vaccination status does not currently affect whether or not these individuals can enter the United States, in November only fully vaccinated travelers will be permitted.
These individuals are already required to show proof of a negative coronavirus test, taken within three days of boarding a flight. This requirement will remain.
See Department of State website for additional FAQs.