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Major Updates to Pandemic-Related International Travel Restrictions

28 Oct

In recent days, U.S. officials have updated international travel restrictions that will affect all travelers entering the United States by land, air, or sea. The new restrictions will focus on the vaccination status of those arriving at U.S. ports of entry.

Revision of Travel Restrictions from Canada and Mexico

On October 21, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will continue to limit the entry of non-essential travelers from Canada and Mexico at U.S. land and ferry ports of entry. This travel limitation is expected to continue until January 22, 2022.

In an effort to align with the upcoming changes to international travel by air in November, DHS also announced that fully vaccinated travelers will be exempt from this limitation. As of October 22, fully vaccinated travelers entering the U.S. via a land or ferry port of entry from Canada and Mexico may do so for non-essential purposes.

White House to Rescind International Travel Ban for Fully Vaccinated Travelers

On October 25, President Biden released a new Presidential Proclamation addressing anticipated changes to the current travel ban for foreign nationals entering the U.S. by air. In this Proclamation, President Biden confirms the U.S. will rescind the current travel restrictions for foreign nationals and implement a new policy dependent on a traveler’s COVID-19 vaccination record.

As of November 8, the following previous proclamations will be revoked and the October 25 Proclamation will supersede:

Starting November 8, entry to the U.S. by air for unvaccinated foreign nationals will be limited and depend on several factors, such as testing, mask-wearing, and self-quarantine. The main exceptions to the vaccine requirement for foreign nationals are the following:
 
  1. The individual’s age exempts them the vaccination requirement, as determined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
  2. The individual has received a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by their country of citizenship;
  3. The individual is a crew member of an airline and adheres to all other industry standard COVID-19 guidelines;
  4. The individual cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccination due to a medical contraindication, as determined by the CDC;
  5. The individual has been granted an exception by the CDC for humanitarian or emergency reasons;
  6. The individual is a citizen of a foreign country where the availability of COVID-19 vaccination is limited (except for individuals traveling on a B-1 or B-2 visa);
  7. The individual is a member of the United States Armed Forces or is a spouse or child of a member of the United States Armed Forces;
  8. The individual is seeking entry or transiting the U.S. with one of the following non-immigration visa classifications: A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3, E-1 (for certain applicants from Taiwan), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6.
All unvaccinated travelers to the United States (whether U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, or those falling under the above exceptions) must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within one day of their travel to the United States. Fully vaccinated travelers will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of travel to the United States.

If an unvaccinated foreign national is permitted entry to the U.S. and their stay is long-term, they may be required to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 within 60 days of entry or a stipulated timeframe as directed by the CDC.

With the guidelines provided in the Proclamation, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will work with the CDC to implement the requirements, including establishing procedures to define accepted COVID-19 vaccinations and to determine acceptable methods of proof of vaccination.

Foster will continue to monitor developments in connection with all new and continuing COVID-19 related travel restrictions and policies and will make future updates available on our firm’s website at www.fosterglobal.com