WASHINGTON, Sept 22 (Reuters) – The Biden administration plans to ease travel restrictions in early November that have barred much of the world from entering the United States since 2020.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still must issue a formal order and answer many specific questions about how the new rules will work.
Here is what we know:
WHO CAN TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES?
– The U.S. will lift travel restrictions on 33 countries including China, India, Brazil for travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 that were imposed starting in early 2020.
– Travelers will still need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of departing for the United States.
– Until the new rules come into effect, most foreign nationals who have been in the 33 countries for 14 days prior to departure cannot travel to the United States.
– Foreign nationals from all countries, with few exceptions, will need vaccinations to travel to the United States by air.
WHAT VACCINES WILL BE ACCEPTED?
– It is not certain what vaccines the CDC will accept as proof of vaccination or what form the proof must take. The administration told airlines on Tuesday that they were still deciding what vaccines will be accepted.
– The CDC pointed to its prior guidance when asked by Reuters what vaccines it will accept. “The CDC considers someone fully vaccinated with any FDA-authorized or approved vaccines and any vaccines that (the World Health Organization) has authorized,” said spokesperson Kristen Nordlund.
WHAT ROLES WILL AIRLINES PLAY?
– It is anticipated that airlines will check travelers documents to certify compliance with the vaccine rules.
– Currently airlines check for proof of a negative COVID-19 test before travelers depart.
– The CDC will also issue new contact tracing rules before the restrictions are lifted that will require international passengers to give email and phone information so public health authorities can contact them if needed, including if they are seated near someone who tests positive.
– Americans traveling from abroad who are not vaccinated will face tougher rules than vaccinated citizens, including needing to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within a day of travel and proof of purchasing a viral test to be taken after arrival. Vaccinated Americans must show proof of a negative test within three days of returning to the United States.
– Exceptions from the vaccine requirements include children not yet eligible for shots.
– The Biden administration expects humanitarian exemptions will be granted for foreign nationals who agree to be vaccinated upon arrival in the United States, according to a document seen by Reuters and a White House official. The administration expects such exemptions will be very limited.
Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Sam Holmes
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