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Man wearing a face mask and looking out an airport window at a plane on the tarmac
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New COVID-19 Travel Rules Announced for All Flights Into the U.S.

SmarterTravel

The U.S. Opens to Vaccinated Travelers

The Biden administration just announced some big changes to the United States’ COVID-19 travel policy. Starting in early November, the U.S. will open its borders to fully vaccinated international travelers. All foreign nationals who wish to travel to the U.S. will need to show proof of vaccination along with a negative COVID test that was taken within 72 hours of their flight. The announcement did not specify if unvaccinated children would be allowed into the country under the new rules. 

New Rules for Unvaccinated Americans

Unvaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents will still be able to fly into the U.S., but starting in November, they will also need to be tested within 24 hours of boarding their flight, as well as take a second test once they are back in the U.S. (Proof of purchase for a viral test to be taken after arrival into the U.S. will be required in order for unvaccinated travelers to board their flight.) These rules will apply to unvaccinated children who are U.S. citizens as well.

The travel policy remains unchanged for fully vaccinated American flyers, who will still only need to show proof of a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of departure to the U.S.

Enhanced Contact Tracing

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will be issuing a new contact tracing order for airlines. According to the White House, this order will “require airlines to collect comprehensive contact information for every passenger coming to the United States and to provide that information promptly to the CDC, upon request, to follow up with travelers who have been exposed to COVID-19 variants or other pathogens.”

Airline passengers will need to provide their phone number and email address under the new contact tracing process. 

Will the U.S. Create a Vaccine Passport?

The White House did not elaborate on how proof of vaccination for flyers will be verified. However, they expect to have a plan in place by the time these rules are implemented in early November.

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