U.S. to Lift Travel Restrictions for International Visitors in November
The United States will lift travel restrictions on foreign visitors who have been vaccinated in November, a White House official announced Monday.
In addition to being fully vaccinated, travelers heading to the U.S. will also have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of boarding a flight to the U.S., Jeff Zients, the White House pandemic coordinator, said, according to The New York Times on Monday.
The U.S. will also welcome unvaccinated travelers but with more stringent testing protocols, including a requirement to get tested both before coming and upon arrival. The NYT reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will soon issue an order requiring airlines to collect contact information like phone numbers and emails for contact tracing purposes.
"International travel is critical to connecting families and friends, to fueling small and large businesses, to promoting the open exchange [of] ideas and culture," Zients explained. "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."
Unvaccinated American travelers will still be allowed to fly back, but with more stringent testing protocols, including a requirement to get tested within one day of their departure and show proof they have purchased a viral test to be taken after arriving, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters during a briefing later on Monday. This would apply to children as well.
Psaki said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will soon issue an order requiring airlines to collect "comprehensive contact information" from passengers for contact tracing purposes.
The plan to welcome foreign travelers has been in the works for more than a month. Currently, the U.S. restricts non-essential travel for non-U.S. citizens from several destinations around the world, including the UK and EU. In the past, the Biden administration has cited the spread of the highly contagious delta variant as a reason they had not yet lifted international restrictions.
However, several countries have welcomed vaccinated Americans in recent months, including the UK, France, Greece, and the Netherlands. And while the EU removed the U.S. from its pandemic-era list of safe countries last month, individual member states can still set their own rules around testing or vaccination requirements.
While plans to welcome UK and EU travelers may be in the works, it was not immediately clear when other travel restrictions would be lifted.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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This story originally appeared on travelandleisure.com