US lifts severe travel restrictions on India, China; children under 18 exempt from vaccine rule
Non-tourist passengers from around 50 countries with national immunisation rates of less than 10% will also be excluded from the requirements.
According to the White House, US President Joe Biden issued an order on Monday setting new immunisation requirements for most foreign national air travellers and eliminating harsh travel restrictions on China, India, and parts of Europe, beginning November 8. The unusual travel restrictions in the United States were originally enforced in early 2020 in response to the spread of COVID-19. Most non-US nationals who have spent the preceding 14 days in the United Kingdom, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe with no border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran, or Brazil are denied entry.
The White House stated that children under 18 are exempt from the new vaccination requirements, as are those with certain medical conditions. Non-tourist passengers from around 50 countries with national immunisation rates of less than 10% will also be excluded from the requirements. Those who receive an exemption must typically be vaccinated if they plan to stay in the United States longer than 60 days. The White House said on September 20 that restrictions on fully vaccinated flying travellers from 33 nations would be lifted in early November. The Biden administration also outlined the airlines' procedures to ensure that international travellers had been vaccinated before boarding.
One worry among US authorities and airlines is ensuring that international passengers are informed of the new vaccine regulations, which will force in less than two weeks. On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States released new contact tracing regulations requiring airlines to collect information from overseas passengers as needed "to follow up with travellers who have been exposed to COVID-19 variations or other diseases."
The CDC announced last month that it would accept any vaccination approved by US regulators or the World Health Organization, as well as mixed-dose coronavirus vaccines from travellers. Foreign air travellers will be required to produce immunisation proof from an "official source," and airlines will be required to confirm that the previous dosage was at least two weeks before the trip date. International passengers will be required to provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test done within 72 hours of departure. According to the White House, unvaccinated Americans and foreign nationals who receive exemptions will be required to produce documentation of a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of departure.