COVID-19: White House provides details on plan to replace regional entry bans with vaccination requirement 

25 Oct 21

UNITED STATES

President Joe Biden issued a Proclamation on air travel Monday, providing new guidance on the country’s upcoming changes to its COVID-19 entry rules.

Key Points:

  • On Nov. 8, the U.S.’s current, country-based entry restrictions will be revoked.
  • Beginning on that date, nonimmigrant foreign nationals will generally be required to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days before boarding a flight for the U.S.
  • Some exceptions to the vaccine requirement will be provided, including for children, humanitarian or emergency cases, individuals with medical contraindications, foreign nationals from certain countries with limited vaccine availability (excluding B-visa travel), air crew, and noncitizens whose entry is deemed in the national interest.
    • The State Department and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will continue to have authority to grant exceptions based on national interest. Other exceptions will fall under the authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
    • Unvaccinated nonimmigrant foreign nationals will not only have to qualify for an exception but also will be subject to other entry criteria, including providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within one day (rather than three days) before boarding a flight for the U.S.
  • The Proclamation will remain in effect until it is terminated or modified by the president.

Additional Information: The U.S. will also change entry rules for land travel on Nov. 8. The CDC has confirmed that for purposes of entering the country, the U.S. will accept COVID-19 vaccines that are approved or authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO). In general, travelers will be considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after their second dose of a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.

BAL Analysis: The current entry restrictions will remain in place until Nov. 8. Between now and Nov. 8, the CDC is expected to issue specific guidance that clarifies what forms of proof of vaccination travelers must present, required information for contact tracing and the full list of requirements for unvaccinated travelers. The government must also issue additional guidance on the process for obtaining an exemption. Employers and employees should continue to consult their BAL professional before planning any international travel.

BAL attorneys will be speaking at a webinar on “Lifting the Travel Bans, Holiday Travel & Planning: What to Expect in the Coming Months” on Nov. 2 at 1 p.m. CT. Find details and register here.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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