In a long-awaited move, a White House official announced on Monday that the United States will finally ease travel restrictions on vaccinated foreign visitors starting in November.
Under the Biden administration’s new policy, foreign travelers must not only show proof of full vaccination, but also provide a negative COVID-19 test from within three days prior to coming to the U.S., said White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients, according to the New York Times.
Vaccinated travelers will not be required to quarantine upon arrival to the United States.
Unvaccinated Americans will also be able to travel to the U.S., but will have to test negative for COVID-19 one day before traveling, as well as upon arrival. The CDC is also expected to issue an order requiring airlines to collect travelers’ phone numbers and email addresses for a new contact tracing system. Officials will use the contact tracing system to ask travelers after arrival if they are experiencing symptoms.
The U.S. has restricted travel for most foreigners looking to enter the country for well over a year; the policy began under the Trump administration in early 2020, as the coronavirus began to spread. President Joe Biden maintained certain restrictions for travelers from the E.U., U.K. and other countries, citing the rise of coronavirus cases and the rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
Zients told the New York Times that the pace of the global vaccine effort contributed to the administration’s decision to ease travel restrictions.
“International travel is critical to connecting families and friends, to fueling small and large businesses, to promoting the open exchange ideas and culture,” Zients said. “That’s why, with science and public health as our guide, we have developed a new international air travel system that both enhances the safety of Americans here at home and enhances the safety of international air travel.”
Even as certain restrictions begin to lift, anyone traveling right now should continue to keep updated on government and health regulations and advisories. At the moment, the CDC recommends unvaccinated travelers avoid any international travel.