US to lift travel ban for vaccinated travellers

By David Mumford

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In November, the US will lift its Covid travel restrictions to allow fully vaccinated passengers to enter from those countries currently on the banned list:

  • The UK
  • Ireland
  • The 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland).
  • China
  • Iran
  • Brazil
  • South Africa
  • India

The rules right now

The travel ban has been in force since March 2020, when the pandemic first began gathering pace. Under the current policy, only certain people can travel into the US if they have been in a banned country within the previous 14 days:

  • US citizens and their immediate families.
  • Green card holders.
  • Flight crew if traveling to the US on C, D or C1/D visas.
  • Those with national interest exemptions (NIE). (Amongst other things, these also allow foreign crew to enter to pick up aircraft and do delivery/maintenance flights etc despite their travel history.)

For more details on the current restrictions and exemptions, check the US CDC webpage here.

The rules from November

There are no guidelines yet on the new requirements due to take effect in November – these are expected to be announced in the coming days. The few crumbs of info we know so far:

  • When will the new rules take effect? – The White House spokesperson did not specify the exact date when the ban would be removed, but noted that this would happen in early November.
  • Before departure – Travellers to the US will need to show proof of vaccination in addition to a negative Covid test taken within three days of the flight. There will be some exemptions to the vaccine policy, including for children not yet eligible to be vaccinated.
  • On arrival – Travellers will not need to quarantine upon arrival in the US, but airlines will be asked to collect their contact info for contact tracing purposes.
  • Which vaccines will be accepted? It’s not yet clear. It’s likely that travellers vaccinated with vaccines approved by the US FDA (Moderna, Pfizer, and Janssen) will be accepted. The EU has said they expect the US to also allow travellers vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, though this is not confirmed yet.
  • What about land borders? – The new rules will not apply to travellers crossing land borders with Mexico and Canada. These are still in place and are reviewed on a monthly basis.
  • Any changes for US travellers? – Yes. US travellers will also be subject to stricter requirements and will need to take a Covid test a day before they leave the US, and another one when they return.

We will update this page as new info is announced.

For a good summary of the timeline of the “US travel ban twists and turns since March 2020” leading up to this latest announcement, check out this article.

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David Mumford

David Mumford

I am an OPSGROUP team member and flight dispatcher. Based in beautiful Brighton, England. Question for us? Write to blog.team@ops.group.

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