The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (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). The U.S. will begin requiring most international travelers to be vaccinated on Nov. 8.


  • Air travel. Effective Nov. 8, adult foreign nationals entering the country by air will need to show proof of a vaccination and a recent negative COVID-19 test. Fully vaccinated individuals will no longer be subject to the current bans on entry to many foreign nationals who have been physically present in Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the Schengen Area in the past 14 days.
  • Land travel. Effective Nov. 8, individuals entering the U.S. by land will need to show proof of vaccination if traveling for “nonessential” purposes. Unvaccinated travelers will be able to enter the country only if they can show that their travel is “essential.”

Background: Recent CDC and State Department statements have confirmed media reports earlier this month that said the U.S. would accept vaccines authorized by the FDA or listed for emergency use by the 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. The State Department said the CDC and other government agencies are working to develop additional guidance for air and land travelers ahead of the Nov. 8 changes.

BAL Analysis: While the U.S. will allow fully vaccinated travelers to enter starting Nov. 8, restrictions will remain in place until then. The government still must issue additional orders and guidance to implement the new processes, including any exemption procedures. Some details about the Nov. 8 changes remain unavailable at this time, including type of proof that will be required and what information the government will collect from travelers for contact tracing. 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. CDT. Find details and register here.

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

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