US outlines international COVID-19 travel requirements to take effect next month

WASHINGTON — The White House on Monday detailed new COVID-19 vaccination requirements for international travelers who plan to fly to the U.S.

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Beginning Nov. 8, non-immigrant foreign nationals will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before entering the U.S. by airplane, with some exceptions. Travelers will need to show proof of their vaccination status before boarding a plane bound for the U.S., officials said.

All fully vaccinated international travelers, regardless of their citizenships, will also need to test negative for COVID-19 within three days of their flights.

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American citizens and legal permanent residents who are eligible to travel but who are not fully vaccinated will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test one day before their departures.

Senior Biden administration officials told reporters Monday that the policy will not apply to children under 18, as COVID-19 vaccines for children are not yet widely available worldwide. It will also not apply to travelers from countries deemed to have an insufficient number of COVID-19 vaccines to get people fully vaccinated, defined as countries in which less than 10% of the total population have gotten their shots.

People who are medically unable to receive the vaccine, emergency travelers who don’t have access to a test within one day and, on an extremely limited basis, people approved on humanitarian reasons will also be exempt from the new policy.

>> Related: Coronavirus: US to reopen land borders to fully vaccinated travelers next month

Air passengers will also be required to submit contact information to officials to give them the ability to conduct contact tracing in case the potential arises that travelers have been exposed to COVID-19.

A person is considered “fully vaccinated” after at least two weeks have passed after they’ve gotten their final dose of one of the available COVID-19 vaccines. Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said authorities will accept vaccines approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and those listed by the World Health Organization for emergency use, or any combination of the two.

White House officials said the Biden administration is working with airlines to ensure the smooth implementation of the newly released guidelines. Airlines will be tasked with matching travelers’ names and dates of birth to their vaccination records and confirming that the records were issued by official sources.

“The airlines will verify vaccination status in the same way they have been, and will continue to do, with the proof of a pre-departure negative test result,” a senior White House official told reporters Monday.

The U.S. is also set to reopen its land and passenger ferry borders to fully vaccinated travelers Nov. 8, according to CBC News. Travelers will be required to show proof of their vaccination status or to attest to their status by request of a border agent, the news network reported.