• Children between the ages of 2 and 17 will be required to take a pre-departure test.
  • Air travelers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and show a negative test.
  • Both a PCR test, and antigen tests qualify.

On Monday, the Biden Administration released details around new rules on international travel during the pandemic.

Need to Know
Starting on November 8, non-citizen, non-immigrant air travelers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to fly to the U.S., with only limited exceptions.

Unvaccinated travelers – whether U.S. Citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), or the small number of excepted unvaccinated foreign nationals – will now need to test within one day of departure.

Fully vaccinated foreign nationals will also be able to travel across the Northern and Southwest borders for non-essential reasons, such as tourism, starting on November 8.

Will all vaccines be accepted?
All FDA approved or authorized vaccines as well as World Health Organization (WHO) emergency use listed (EUL) vaccines.

Who is considered to be fully vaccinated?
Individuals can be considered fully vaccinated with more than 2 weeks after receipt of the last dose if they have received any single dose of an FDA approved/authorized or WHO EUL approved single-dose series (i.e., Janssen), or any combination of two doses of an FDA approved/authorized or WHO emergency use listed COVID-19 two-dose series (i.e. mixing and matching).

COVID-19 Testing for international travel during the pandemic

  • Both a PCR test, and antigen tests qualify.
  • As announced in September, the new system tightens those requirements, so that unvaccinated U.S. Citizens and LPRs will need to provide a negative test taken within one day of traveling.
  • Previously, all travelers were required to produce a negative viral test result within three days of travel to the United States.
  • That means that all fully vaccinated U.S. Citizens and LPRs traveling to the United States should be prepared to present documentation of their vaccination status alongside their negative test result.
  • For those Americans who can show they are fully vaccinated, the same requirement currently in place will apply – they have to produce a negative test result within three days of travel.
  • 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.

Requirements for Children for international travel during the pandemic
Children under 18 are excepted from the vaccination requirement for foreign
national travelers, given both the ineligibility of some younger children for
vaccination, as well as the global variability in access to vaccination for older
children who are eligible to be vaccinated.

  • Children between the ages of 2 and 17 are required to take a pre-departure test.
  • If traveling with a fully vaccinated adult, an unvaccinated child can test three days prior to departure (consistent with the timeline for fully vaccinated adults).
  • If an unvaccinated child is traveling alone or with unvaccinated adults, they will have to test within one day of departure.

Limited Exceptions from the Vaccination Requirement
There are a very limited set of exceptions from the vaccination requirement for foreign nationals. These include exceptions for children under 18, certain COVID-
19 vaccine clinical trial participants, those with medical contraindications to the vaccines, those who need to travel for emergency or humanitarian reasons (with a US government-issued letter affirming the urgent need to travel), those who are traveling on non-tourist visas from countries with low-vaccine availability (as
determined by the CDC), and other very narrow categories.

Those who receive an exception will generally be required to attest they will
comply with applicable public health requirements, including, with very limited
exceptions, a requirement that they be vaccinated in the U.S. if they intend to stay here for more than 60 days.

Contact Tracing
The CDC is issuing a Contact Tracing Order that requires all airlines flying
into the United States to keep on hand – and promptly turn over to the CDC,
when needed – passenger contact information. That, according to the White House, will allow public health officials to follow up with inbound air travelers who are potentially infected or have been exposed to someone who is infected.

Hannah Walker

Hannah Walker is a health reporter at The Pavlovic Today.