Biden administration details more flexible international travel rules for vaccinated travelers

“Airlines will check vaccination status the same way they have been and will continue to do so with negative Covid test results before departure,” a senior Biden administration official told reporters on Monday. .

Those under 18 will be exempt from these requirements, largely due to the availability or limited authorization of Covid-19 vaccines for children in much of the world. Children 2 years of age or older will need to take a negative Covid test before their flight.

The United States first described impending international travel rules for people fully vaccinated in mid-September.

“We have taken the deliberate step of taking this time to make sure the implementation goes as smoothly as possible, especially with something so broad,” a second senior administration official told reporters on Monday.

The rules also include an exemption for people from a country where vaccine availability is limited, which the Biden administration defines as a place where less than 10 percent of the population is fully vaccinated “due to lack of vaccines. “, According to a senior official in the administration. official. There are around 50 countries that fall below this threshold, including much of Africa.

However, the official added that unvaccinated people who qualify will have to demonstrate a “specific and compelling” reason for traveling to the United States and be tested negative a day before their flight. Any child traveling with an unvaccinated adult will also need to show proof of a negative test in this same window.

Unvaccinated U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents will also be required to show proof of a negative test one day before boarding, up from three days before. Fully vaccinated people will continue to have three days to get tested.

There are a handful of other narrow exceptions to the vaccination requirement, such as for foreign nationals who have had severe allergic reactions to a previous dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

Travelers to the United States will also need to submit information to airlines, such as phone numbers and work email addresses, to allow health officials to conduct contact tracing if travelers have been potentially exposed to the coronavirus.

The announcement of the new rules comes days before President Joe Biden’s planned trip to Europe for a series of summit meetings with other world leaders, as well as Pope Francis.

The United States is also expected to reopen land and ferry crossings to fully vaccinated travelers on the same day as air travel rules, November 8. The borders have been closed to non-essential discretionary travel since March 2020 and the past few months have become a major source of frustration within the Canadian government and among US elected officials representing communities along the northern border.



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