WASHINGTON D.C: The Biden administration announced Monday, SEPTEMBER 20, that the United States is reopening to fully vaccinated air travelers from anywhere around the world starting in early November, ending a ban that has been in place for 18 months.
The White House’s complete turnaround on restrictions is a huge boost to the travel industry with tens of thousands of global travelers unable to travel to the United States from the earliest days of the pandemic.
The U.S. Travel Association trade group previously estimated that the restrictions, if they ran to the end of the year, would cost the U.S. economy $325 billion in total losses and 1.1 million jobs.
The White House said it will admit fully vaccinated air travelers from the 26 countries that comprise the Schengen area in Europe as well as Britain, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran, and Brazil. The existing policy had barred entry by non-U.S. citizens who have been in any of those countries prior to 14 days of their arrival in the U.S.
It’s uncertain when exactly in November the U.S. will reopen as White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients only said: “early November” regarding a date for reopening. The White House added that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will determine which vaccines will qualify. International visitors will need to present proof of vaccination before traveling and will not be required to quarantine upon arrival as well as take a PCR test three days prior to flying to the U.S.
However, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing on Monday that land border restrictions with Canada and Mexico have been extended through October 21 and offered no prediction as to when they will be lifted.
Despite restrictions being eased for international travelers, Zients said that unvaccinated U.S. citizens returning home will have to clear stricter testing requirements, a point Psaki reiterated during the press briefing. Returning travelers will need to test negative for Covid-19 one day before traveling to the U.S. and show proof of buying a test to take after their arrival.