U.S. to lift travel ban for vaccinated passengers from Europe and the U.K.

New York JFK Airport ©AirTeamImages

The White House has announced that from early November this year, the travel ban to the U.S put in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will now be lifted for a number of countries provided passengers have proof of full vaccination before boarding a flight and a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of departure. They will not, however, be required to quarantine upon arrival.

These will include the 27 Schengen countries which make up the EU, the U.K., Ireland, and Switzerland, together with China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, and Brazil. Currently, only U.S. citizens, their immediate families, green card holders, and those with national interest exemptions can travel to the U.S. if they have been in the U.K. or EU in the previous two weeks. The exceptions to the vaccine policy will be young children who are not eligible for vaccination, while the new rules will not be applicable to those looking to cross the land border between Mexico and the U.S.

“This new international travel system follows the science to keep Americans and international air travel safe,” the White House coronavirus response coordinator, Jeff Zients, told reporters. “By requiring foreign nationals to be fully vaccinated in order to fly to the United States and in implementing additional strict safety protocols, we will protect Americans here at home and enhance the safety of international travel. This is based on individuals rather than a country-based approach.” The new policy will come into effect in “early November”, Zients added, allowing airlines and travel partners time to prepare to implement the new protocols.

The changes will be part of a new travel system the U.S. will be implementing which include updated rules on contact tracing and masking, meaning that unvaccinated Americans will be forced to face stricter testing requirements.

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