White House to Lift Travel Restrictions Into U.S. for Vaccinated Foreign Nationals

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A person wearing a mask and a baseball cap walks in front of an airport departures board.
A passenger wearing a face mask walks past a flight information board at Paris's Charles de Gaulle international airport in Roissy on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020.  (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)

The Biden administration is easing restrictions on foreign nationals wishing to fly to the U.S.

Starting in early November, they will be allowed to enter this country if they can show proof they have been vaccinated for COVID-19, and that they have tested negatively for the virus within three days of their flight.

The new policy was announced Monday by Jeffrey Zients, Biden's coronavirus response coordinator. It replaces a patchwork of travel bans on travelers from China, India, Europe and more put in place by the Trump administration.

This new loosening of restrictions does not, however, apply to ground travel from Canada and Mexico.

The travel bans, many in place for well over a year, separated families and negatively affected the tourism industry in the U.S., where international travel is a big part of business. A hashtag, #LoveIsNotTourism, took off on social media, with people advocating for an end to the travel bans at least for those who are fully vaccinated.


Zients said the Biden administration will be working with the airlines in the coming weeks on how to best implement the new procedures. He said travelers also will have to provide their phone numbers and email addresses to allow for enhanced contact tracing.

The new system, Zients said, "allows us to implement strict protocols to prevent the spread of COVID" from passengers flying to the U.S.

Unvaccinated Americans will be allowed to travel back to the U.S. but will have to show proof of a negative COVID test within one day of their flight.

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