As the economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. is relaxing COVID-19 travel restrictions for most international tourists beginning Monday, Nov, 8, a move that many hotels, retailers, restaurants, and airlines industries anticipate will bring in a fresh wave of customers.
As international tourists visit, that will “give a jolt to the retail side,” said Matt Shay, CEO of the National Retail Federation. “The return to the service and the experience economy is going to be positive and beneficial for retail and it’s going to be enhanced furthermore by these international visitors returning to the U.S.”
Airlines have reported an increase in bookings to the United States and forecast a boost in travelers even before the busy holiday seasons.
Since the Biden administration announced in September that the limitations would be lifted, overseas flight searches to the United States have more than quadrupled, according to Airfare-tracking site Hopper.
However, the reopening of the border to many international visitors comes with a new set of rules such as COVID-19 vaccination and a negative test, reported CNBC.
Here is what you need to know about international travel to the U.S.
Proof of vaccination
Under the new rules, inbound non-citizens will have to prove that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before they fly into the U.S.
That means the second of a two-dose vaccine must have been completed two weeks before departure. Documentation can be shown as a paper certificate, a document photo, or a digitized version. It will be reviewed by airline personnel.
Accepted vaccines should be approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and those listed for use by the World Health Organization: Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covishield, Sinopharm, and Sinovac.
The U.S. will also require proof of a negative COVID test for all vaccinated travelers within the past three days. The country has required that since January for all arrivals, including U.S. citizens.
If a traveler is not vaccinated, including a U.S. citizen, the Covid test must have been taken within one day of departure. Both rapid antigen and PCR test results will be accepted.
Minors and other vaccine exemptions
International travelers under the age of 18 in countries that have not yet authorized vaccines for children or have low vaccine availability will be exempt from vaccine requirements.
Traveling with vaccinated adults, international visitors over the age of 2 must still present proof of a negative COVID test taken within three days of departure. They must produce evidence of a test done within one day if they are traveling alone.
Visitors from 50 countries with low vaccine availability and immunization rates, including much of Africa, Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, and Armenia, will be excused from vaccination requirements.
Visitors who have not been vaccinated for medical reasons must provide a letter from a medical professional to the airline. There are some exceptions for people who need to travel to the United States for humanitarian or emergency reasons, but they will need a State Department letter before departure.
Citizens of the United States are not required to show proof of vaccination before leaving the country. In case they do not have a COVID vaccination record, they must present documentation of a negative COVID test done within one day, rather than the three days required for travelers with a COVID vaccination record.
In the event of an outbreak following arrival, all U.S.-bound travelers will be asked to furnish contact information to airlines, including e-mail, phone number, and address.