On October 25, 2021, President Biden issued a Presidential Proclamation rescinding the geographic COVID-19 travel bans and adopting COVID-19 vaccination requirements for all international air travelers to the United States. It will be effective at 12:01 AM on November 8, 2021. The proclamation will remain in effect until terminated by the president.
The Proclamation governs the entry into the United States of nonimmigrants traveling to the United States by air.
Rescission of COVID-19 Geographic Travel Restrictions: The Proclamation rescinds the geographic COVID-19 travel bans that restricted travel for those from China, the Schengen Area, UK and Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, and India.
- The Proclamation suspends the entry into the United States via air travel of noncitizen, nonimmigrants who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with certain exceptions. It notably does not suspend visa issuance for those whose travel is suspended. Travelers will be required to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of that vaccination before boarding a plane to the United States.
- The Proclamation does not apply to United States citizens, lawful permanent residents, or those traveling on immigrant visas. Those applying for an immigrant visa abroad or who seek to adjust status from within the United States are required to receive, among other vaccinations, an authorized COVID-19 vaccination as of October 1, 2021. The Proclamation provides several exceptions to the vaccine requirement such as children, those who have participated in clinical trials, those for whom COVID-19 vaccinations are medically contraindicated, humanitarian and emergency exceptions, citizens of a country with limited vaccine availability, members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their Spouses and Children, National Interest Exceptions, Diplomats or Persons on Official Government Travel, United Nations Travelers, Sea and Airline Crew Members.
Vaccination Requirements After Arrival
While the categories of persons above are excepted from the vaccination requirement, these individuals will be subject to more rigorous testing requirements, as well as a requirement that they be vaccinated against COVID-19 within 60 days of arriving in the United States. The Proclamation provides exceptions for the 60-day vaccination requirement if the individual’s intended stay is brief, vaccination is inappropriate given their age, they are clinical trial participants, or if the COVID-19 vaccine is not warranted for the individual in question.
Other Required Protective Measures
Depending on the category of exception, the CDC has issued guidance indicating that excepted individuals may also be required to attest that they will be tested for COVID-19 3-5 days after arrival in the United States, self-quarantine for a full 7 days, self-isolate if the result of the post-arrival test is positive or if they develop COVID-19 symptoms.
Individuals seeking entry with a nonimmigrant visa, other than B-1/B-2, who have a passport or proof of citizenship from a country where less than 10% of the population are vaccinated are eligible for an exception to vaccination requirements under the Proclamation. Please note that per CDC guidelines, this exception does not apply to an individual residing in a covered country but who is not a citizen of that country. A passport or other proof of citizenship for a covered country will be required to qualify.
Testing Requirements for Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Adults and Children
The United States is also amending testing requirements for all persons entering the country.
All vaccinated individuals, including American citizens, lawful permanent residents, and foreign nationals traveling to the United States on immigrant or nonimmigrant visas, will be required to produce a negative viral test (NAAT or PCR) result within three calendar days of travel to the United States, or before boarding the first flight in a series of connection to the United States.
Unvaccinated travelers, whether U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, or those who qualify for an exception under the Proclamation, will be required to show documentation of a negative test taken within one day of travel to the United States. Children between the ages of 2 and 17 will be required to take a pre-departure test. If the child is not fully vaccinated but traveling with a fully vaccinated adult, they can show proof of a negative viral test taken within three calendar days before departure, much like vaccinated adults. If they are traveling alone, they will be subject to the same testing requirements as unvaccinated adults.
Akula & Associates will continue to monitor this issue. Please visit our website at www.akulalaw.com or call our office at 972-241-4695 for more updates. Follow us on Facebook at Akula & Associates and on Instagram at akulalaw.