Tighter Covid-19 Testing Requirements for Unvaccinated travelers to the United States

The U.S. will roll out a new travel system in two weeks that will open borders up for millions of vaccinated international visitors. 

The system launching November 8 will end the U.S. travel ban that has been in place for dozens of countries since the start of the pandemic. It will also make reentry more challenging for unvaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents and establish stringent testing requirements for the rare unvaccinated foreign nationals allowed to visit.

“For anyone traveling to the United States who cannot demonstrate proof of full vaccination, they will have to produce documentation of a negative test within one day of departure,” instead of the current three days, according to the White House.

Fully vaccinated Americans will still have a three-day window for COVID-19 testing with negative results, but if they are not able to show proof of vaccination, they too will be subject to the one-day testing requirement.

With few exceptions, only foreign nationals with vaccinations approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization will be allowed to board planes to visit the U.S.

Senior administration officials stressed that exceptions to vaccine requirements for foreign visitors would be rare, but would be made for children under age 18 and travelers from countries with less than a 10% vaccination rate due to lack of vaccine availability. The White House said that currently affects about 50 countries, but the list is continually changing. 

Additionally, travelers who have recently recovered from the coronavirus may bypass testing and “instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel),” according to the CDC.

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