The United States of America (USA) will lift its restrictions on entry for fully vaccinated travelers from China, India, Brazil, the European Union (EU), and Britain from early November after an 18-month-long travel ban as announced by the White House on Monday. All foreign travelers flying to the US will need to show valid proof of vaccination along with a negative COVID-19 test taken within 3 days of boarding the flight, confirmed by White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients.
This new announcement will benefit students who are currently studying in the USA or planning to Study in the USA. The decision to ease foreign travel restrictions contradicts the announcement made by President Joe Biden’s administration last week that it wasn’t still the right time to lift any restrictions.
Testing rules for unvaccinated US citizens returning to the country will also be tightened. As per the new rules, US citizens need to be tested within a day before their flight to the USA. However, no quarantine is required for fully vaccinated travelers. Although the US administration announced that the new rule will come into effect in early November, no specific date has been mentioned yet. White House COVID-19 coordinator Zients said that the new air travel policy coming into effect from early November will give enough time to airlines and travel partners for implementing the new COVID protocols to prevent the spread of the virus from international travelers.
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A slew of travel bans first imposed by former President Donald Trump last year and were further tightened by President Joe Biden will now be replaced by the new policy. The decision to lift the travel ban comes ahead of the US President’s meeting with some EU leaders on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly this week. The geopolitical frustration has increased due to the 18 months long travel bans particularly in countries where COVID-19 cases are far lower than in the US. Even though the restrictions have been lifted, it is not yet clear whether those unapproved vaccines in the US would be allowed or not, or which vaccines would be acceptable for entry in the USA. The decision of which vaccines would be accepted, whether the FDA approved or the WHO approved, completely lies at the discretion of the CDC (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) as confirmed by Zients. He added that no immediate alterations would be there in the US land border policies, and it will continue to restrict cross-border travel with Mexico and Canada.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the move as a fantastic decision and said that it will not only boost business, and trade but also reunite the families. The announcement of a travel ban lift has been applauded by the air travel industry as it came as a big relief after losing significant revenues from the pandemic-induced declines in international travel. Delta Air Lines spokesman Morgan Durrant lauded the decision of reopening international travel to the US by the Biden Administration and said that the entire industry is very much optimistic that this step will help in economic recovery significantly along with uniting the families separated for over 18 months. He reiterated the importance of vaccination coupled with testing to resume travel.
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Key requirements to fulfill for arrival in the USA
1. Fully vaccinated air travelers from the Schengen countries in Europe, Britain, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran, and Brazil are allowed to enter the USA.
2. Proof of double vaccination must be presented before boarding the flight to the USA.
3. Only children who are not yet eligible for vaccines are exempted from the double vaccine rule.