The White House on Monday said that The United States (US) will be re-open for fully vaccinated air passengers from China, India, Britain, and other European countries in early November.
It may be noted that these countries have been barred from the United States since early 2020 due to Coronavirus pandemic-related travel restrictions.
United States Imposed Travel Restrictions
The United States travel restrictions were first imposed on travelers from China in January 2020 and extended to other countries in the following months, without any clarity for how and when these travel restrictions were lifted.
In April 2021, President Joe Biden added new travel restrictions on India, barring most non-US citizens from entering the United States. Biden also reversed plans by Trump in January to lift restrictions on European countries.
Europe, Airlines Welcome Announcement
“Today the US announce lifting the travel ban on fully vaccinated Europeans. Intense negotiations have paid off — and the EU Vaccine #TaskForce will keep working with the Biden admiration on other important topics such as supply chains.” European Commissioner Thierry Breton said in a tweet.
Done! 🇪🇺🇺🇸— Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) September 20, 2021
Today the US announce lifting the travel ban on fully vaccinated Europeans.
Intense negotiations have paid off — and the EU Vaccine #TaskForce will keep working with the Biden admistration on other important topics such as supply chains. pic.twitter.com/lemqIaGnRZ
The announcement to lift restrictions on vaccinated people was quickly welcomed by several European countries as well as the trade group Airlines For Europe, which said “this decision will give a much-needed boost to trans-Atlantic traffic and tourism and will reunite families and friends”.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, currently in the US on a visit, tweeted he was “delighted”, adding it was “a fantastic boost for business and trade, and great that family and friends on both sides of the pond (Atlantic) can be reunited”.Advertisement
German Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz also welcomed the announcement as a positive move for business and US-European ties.
“Great news – for German and European investments, our exports and transatlantic relations,” tweeted Scholz, who is also finance minister and the frontrunner in the race to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel after Sunday’s general election.
Shai Weiss, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, said it was “a major milestone to the reopening of travel at scale, allowing consumers and businesses to book travel to the US with confidence”.
Current Travel Restrictions
The United States currently bars most non-US citizens who within the last 14 days have been in Britain, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran, and Brazil.
There will be some exceptions to the vaccine policy, officials said, including for children not yet eligible to be vaccinated. The new rules do not yet apply to travelers crossing land borders with Mexico and Canada.
White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said passengers will need to show they were fully vaccinated before boarding planes to the US, as well as providing proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within three days.
Americans not fully vaccinated will still be able to enter but only on testing negative within a day of travel.
Masks will be obligatory on US-bound flights and airlines will provide the US health authorities with contact tracing information.
“This new international travel system follows the science to keep Americans’ international air travel safe,” Zients said.
The new air travel policy will take effect in “early November”, Zients said, to allow airlines and travel partners time to prepare to implement the new protocols.