From September 14, the US is no longer limiting international arrivals from higher risk countries to specific airports. Under previous rules, any passenger from China, Iran, the Schengen area of Europe, the UK, Ireland and Brazil had to enter the United States through one of fifteen centralised airports capable of providing enhanced health screening. This is no longer be the case.

The previous system was deemed ineffective because so many people who transmit the disease don’t show symptoms. A new approach is being launched, which authorities say will better mitigate the risk of Coronavirus by focusing more on the individual passenger. Here’s how it will work:

  • Pre-departure, in-flight and post-arrival health education for passengers.
  • Robust illness response at airports.
  • Voluntary collection of contact information from passengers using electronic means as proposed by some airlines to avoid long lines, crowding and delays associated with manual data collection.
  • Potential testing to reduce the risk of travel-related transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 and movement of the virus from one location to another.
  • Country-specific risk assessments to assist passengers in making informed decisions about travel-related risk.
  • Enhancing training and education of partners in the transportation sector and at U.S. ports of entry to ensure recognition of illness and immediate notification to CDC.
  • Post-arrival passenger recommendations for self-monitoring and precautions to protect others, with enhanced precautions, including staying home to the extent possible for 14 days for people arriving from high-risk destinations.

You can read the announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here, and confirmation from US CBP here.

Although the 15-airports rule has gone away, all other US rules on inbound travel remain in place. The main one is this – with specific exemptions, foreign nationals are not allowed to enter the US if they have been in any of the following countries within the past 14 days: the European Schengen area, the UK and Ireland, mainland China, Iran, and Brazil. The ‘specific exemptions’ part basically means this: US residents and family members, and flight crew traveling to the United States on C, D or C1/D visas. For more details, check the US Government webpage here.

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David Mumford

David Mumford

Opsgroup team member. International flight ops news hound.

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