U.S. Reopens Border to COVID-19 Vaccinated Travelers

After more than a year and a half, the United States is once again welcoming non-essential travel, with proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test taken within three days of their travel date. All international travelers, including U.S. citizens and green card holders, are subject to the new travel policy.

As of November 8, 2021, the United States lifted travel bans, including those from countries that had been specifically targeted due to rapidly accelerating COVID-19 infections, such as 26 European countries in the Schengen area, China, Iran, Brazil and South Africa. Prior to boarding an airplane bound for the United States, travelers, with limited exceptions, must provide proof of full vaccination, either on paper or in digital form in addition to a negative COVID test. Children between the ages of 2 and 17 are exempted from having to prove vaccination but must provide proof of negative COVID-19 results. For unvaccinated children traveling with a vaccinated adult, a negative viral test must be provided within three calendar days. Children traveling with an adult that meets the vaccination exemption, the negative test must be within one calendar day of departure.

U.S. border travel is also open for cross-border travel for fully vaccinated visitors from Mexico and Canada arriving by ferry or road.

Unfortunately, the reversal of the travel ban does not negate the massive backlog at U.S. embassies around the world since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Those hoping to secure visa appointments for immigrant and nonimmigrant visa should be prepared for continued delays.

The European Union has taken the United States off of its safe travel list, causing some countries, including Spain and France, to bar unvaccinated leisure travelers from the U.S. The rules in European Union countries vary – so travelers should check the CDC’s and U.S. State Department’s country-specific recommendations before making international travel plans.