U.S. Lifts International Travel Ban- Here's What You Need To Know

international travel Nov 11, 2021

As of Monday, the United States has opened the gate for non-essential international travelers for the first time in over 18 months. Travel is expected to skyrocket over the coming months, despite Q4 being a typically slower travel season. With the lifting of the travel ban comes new requirements for the vaccinated and unvaccinated. Meanwhile, domestic travel is becoming more challenging for unvaccinated Americans. Here's what you need to know.

U.S. Finally Re-Opens For International Travel

Monday, the United States opened its doors for international travelers for the first time in over 18 months. This is welcomed news for millions of Americans whose loved ones overseas have been unable to visit. The U.S. has opened travel up for many countries, including Canada, Mexico, and most of Europe.

This change will have a profound positive effect on the United States' economy. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), nearly 43% of all travel in North America in 2019 came from Europe. While Q4 is traditionally slower for international travelers coming to the U.S., many airlines are bracing for a surge.

Travel from European countries has already begun to rapidly increase. According to the travel analytics company Cirium, flights between the United Kingdom and the U.S. are already up 21%. Lufthansa Group, the largest German airline, reported skyrocketing U.S.-bound flight bookings. They reported in a recent press release, "In Premium Economy, Business and First Class more tickets to the USA were bought than in the same period in 2019."

Current U.S. Regulations For Vaccinated International Travelers

According to the Center for Disease Control guidelines, air travelers who are non-U.S. citizens must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. They must provide their proof of vaccination before boarding the flight to the U.S. Proof of a negative covid-19 test, taken within three days of the travel date, must also be presented.

Travelers must wear a mask for the entirety of the flight and while inside airport facilities. Upon arrival to the United States, travelers are free to go where they desire, but it is recommended to get tested within 3-5 days after arrival.

These are the Covid-19 vaccines that the U.S. will accept from foreign travelers.

  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson
  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • AstraZeneca
  • Covaxin
  • Covishield
  • BIBP/Sinopharm
  • Sinovac

Below are acceptable documents that one can provide to demonstrate proof of vaccination.

  • Digital certificate or pass with a QR Code, such as the United Kingdom National Health Service COVID Pass or the European Union Digital COVID Certificate.
  • A physical printout of the Covid-19 vaccination record or Covid-19 vaccination certificate that is issued from a national or subnational authority, or another authorized vaccine provider. An example is the CDC vaccination card.
  • A digital photo of a vaccination card/vaccination record or a digital vaccination record from an authorized provider without a QR code.

Current U.S. Regulations For Unvaccinated International Travelers

Some travelers do not need to provide proof of vaccination before flying, but they still must provide proof of a negative test. Those that do not need to provide proof of vaccination include but are not limited to the following:

  • Diplomats on official foreign government travel.
  • Children under 18 years of age.
  • People with a documented medical condition that precludes them from taking the vaccine.
  • People issued a humanitarian or emergency exception.

For those unvaccinated and allowed to travel to the U.S., testing within 3-5 days after arrival is mandatory unless there was a previous Covid-19 infection and recovery within the previous 90 days. Additionally, a 7-day quarantine is mandatory even with a negative test on day three. Those intending to stay in the U.S. longer than 60 days must become fully vaccinated within the 60 days, or as soon as medically possible.

Travel For Unvaccinated Americans Is Becoming Increasingly Difficult

When it comes to international travel, the CDC explicitly says, "Do not travel internationally until you are fully vaccinated." There are still over 100 countries listed as "high" or "very high" risk for Covid, including Italy, the UK, and the Bahamas. The number of coronavirus cases has been slowly rising around the world since mid-October. The current 7-day average of new cases is just over 463,000.

Proof of vaccination is not required for domestic flights, but travelers are required to show a negative test within 1-3 days of their travel date. Many cities now require proof of vaccination to patronize certain establishments. New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco require proof of vaccination before going to restaurants, bars, gyms, and other indoor facilities. Businesses across the nation are asking customers for proof of vaccination as well.

Know The Restrictions and Requirements Of Your Destination Before Traveling

Whether you are inbound to the United States from another country, seeking to travel outside America, or simply looking to head to another state on vacation, it's critical during this time to understand the restrictions and requirements you will face. Whether you are vaccinated or not, the crucial part is to stay safe and stay healthy.

📌 Pro-tip: If you have plans to fly, download the Skip app and allow us to assist you with your TSA PreCheck enrollment. Also, check every country's vaccination and testing requirements before your trip.

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