The United States will soon allow the entry of vaccinated foreign air travelers into the country. As long as they completed their COVID-19 vaccinations and can show proof they did so, welcome to the USA!
At the same time, the country will also add a testing requirement for unvaccinated Americans. Conversely, unvaccinated foreign air travelers won’t get approval to enter the States.
US To Allow Foreign Air Travelers To Enter The Country
Last Monday, the Biden White House announced the new travel measures. They represent the most sweeping changes to US travel policies in months. In addition, the new rules also widened the gap between vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans.
The new rules hope to open the country to millions of foreign air travelers who already completed their local COVID-19 vaccine program. Airlines, which desperately needed travelers for the last few months, celebrated the good news.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, foreign air travelers coming in from the North Atlantic corridor represented the most profitable area for airlines. Foreign air travelers between the US and Europe comprise the bulk of premium flyers that paid top dollar for business flights.
However, the White House showed a more somber tone to the measure. They said that the new policy is more of a crackdown. They pointed to its measures regarding strict testing and contact tracing. Initially, the new air travel policy will take effect in “early November.”
New Rule Removes Blanket Ban on Some Countries
White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients discussed the travel policy with the media. “We know vaccines are effective, including against the delta variant, and vaccines are the best line of defense against Covid, so this vaccination requirement deploys the best tool we have in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of the virus,” he said last Monday.
Instead of blanket bans for foreign air travelers from specific countries, the new policy will focus on individual vaccination status. “We will protect Americans here at home and enhance the safety of international travel,” Zients said.
However, questions arose from the vaccination process itself. Which vaccines will US authorities recognize as acceptable under the travel policy? Initial reports point to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to include vaccines approved by the World Health Organization.
These include the vaccine from AstraZeneca, and the Chinese-made Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines. The US does not recognize nor use these vaccines.
What About North American Foreign Air Travelers?
Zients said that as of now, there are no changes in policy for foreign air travelers from Canada and Mexico. The ongoing land border closure remains in effect and will extend until October 21.
However, this suggests that vaccinated Canadians and Mexicans are okay to fly to the US. This also means that leisure land trips to the US remains a no.
The decision to relax access for vaccinated foreign air travelers comes as many countries and airlines lobbied the US government to ease up.
The UK and the EU lifted restrictions on visiting Americans with complete vaccines this summer. They hoped that the US would return the favor by allowing their citizens to enter the US.
Watch the Bloomberg Markets and Finance video reporting that the US will open-air travel to most vaccinated foreigners:
Do you agree with the new policy of allowing foreign air travelers to enter the US as long as they’re completely vaccinated? Will this make some unvaccinated Americans think about getting shots?
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