Biden sets US entry rules for foreign travelers

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President Joe Biden has outlined new rules for foreign travelers entering the country when its borders reopen on November 8, providing clarity on what will be needed for international travel.

The plan moves away from the previous US ban on flights from most foreign countries, implemented by former President Donald Trump in March 2020 and extended by Biden when he took office in January of this year.

In a proclamation signed by Biden on Monday, the United States will implement a system that requires the majority of incoming visitors to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Airlines operating flights into the country will have to check the vaccination status of passengers before they can board the plane. They will also need to keep personal contact tracing information on file for 30 days so that health officials can follow up on anyone who may have been exposed to the virus.

To prove vaccination status, travelers must provide proof of vaccination received from an “official source” at least two weeks prior to departure. This includes all vaccines approved by the US health authorities.

Vaccinated travelers will also be required to have a negative Covid-19 test result within three days of departure. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this must be a “viral test which could be an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test,” such as a PCR or LAMP test.

The Biden administration said exceptions for unvaccinated foreign travelers would be rare, but would be provided for children under the age of 18 and for those arriving from countries with a vaccination rate of less than 10% due to the lack availability as well as for those with medical conditions that prevent them from receiving vaccines.

Unvaccinated foreign or American travelers will have to provide a negative Covid-19 result from a test carried out within one day of departure.

The proclamation states that unvaccinated travelers may be subject to additional restrictions and requirements subject to CDC recommendations, including mask use and post-arrival testing.

The new rules apply to all countries included in the previous travel ban, including the UK, Republic of Ireland, the European Schengen area, China, India, Iran, Brazil and South Africa. Travelers arriving from outside these countries will face stricter entry requirements, according to the notice.

The US Travel Association, which has been lobbying for a safe reopening of US borders for months, released the following statement, noting that details on the general opening of land borders between the US, Canada and Mexico have yet to be addressed by the US. administration.

“Today’s guide detailing how international air travelers can prepare for the resumption of travel to the United States starting November 8 provides the necessary clarity for planning. We are grateful that this additional detail has been made available as we move to the reopening to fully vaccinated international travelers and we look forward to a similar guide in the coming days for those qualified visitors who also intend to enter through our northern and southern land borders. “

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