US to open borders to vaccinated, tested foreign travelers

Morning In America

MIAMI (NewsNation Now) — The White House will lift COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated international visitors beginning next week, ending historic restrictions that had barred much of the world from entering the United States for as long as 21 months.

The unprecedented travel restrictions kept millions of visitors out of the United States from China, Canada, Mexico, India, Brazil, much of Europe and elsewhere; shrunk U.S. tourism and hurt border community economies. They prevented many loved ones and foreign workers from reuniting with families.

Starting Nov. 8, the United States will admit fully vaccinated foreign air travelers from the 26 so-called Schengen countries in Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Greece, as well as Britain, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil. The unprecedented U.S. restrictions have barred non-U.S. citizens who were in those countries within the past 14 days.

The United States has allowed foreign air travelers from more than 150 countries throughout the pandemic, a policy that critics said made little sense because some countries with high infection rates were not on the restricted list, while some on the list had the pandemic more under control.

The White House said last month it would apply vaccine requirements to foreign nationals traveling from all other countries.

Non-U.S. air travelers will need to show paper or digital proof of vaccination before boarding a flight and will need to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. 

The Canadian and Mexican borders will also open to fully vaccinated travelers, who will be allowed to cross the border for non-essential travel. Foreign visitors crossing a land border will not need to show proof of a recent negative test.

Children under 18 are exempt from vaccinations but must show a negative COVID-19 test within a day of travel.

The new rules do not require foreign visitors or Americans entering the country to go into quarantine.

Americans traveling overseas must still show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test, and unvaccinated Americans will face stricter testing requirements. They will also be subject to restrictions in countries they plan to visit, which may include quarantines.

Airlines will begin contact tracing on all passengers — taking their names, numbers and addresses to contract travelers who are exposed to COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to issue new rules soon on contact tracing for international air travelers.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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