On September 20, 2021, the Biden administration announced that beginning in early November of 2021, it would terminate travel restrictions imposed on foreign nationals implemented as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This shift in policy will apply to all international travel, including persons located in the Schengen area and persons covered by other local/regional travel bans. The travel bans, which have been in place since last year, currently prohibit non-citizens from traveling to the United States if they have been present in a designated country within fourteen days of their expected travel. Non-citizens of thirty-three countries have been subject to this travel ban which has resulted in family separation and extended travel delays.
What Countries are Currently Affected by the Travel Ban?
The thirty-three (33) countries presently affected by U.S. travel bans include:
Is anything replacing the travel ban?
The Biden administration noted that it is terminating the travel bans and that they would be replaced with a new requirement that any non-citizen seeking to enter the United States must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This is inline with the previous change in immigration policy requiring COVID-19 vaccinations those seeking lawful permanent residence.
Although details on the new policy are scant, this is some of what has been disclosed:
Non-Citizen travelers will be required to provide proof of vaccination plus proof of a negative COVID test within three days of their flight to be required.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is set to release a list of accepted vaccines.
There will be exceptions to this policy as applicable to children, COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants, and those without access to vaccinations in a timely manner. Specifics as to these exceptions have not yet been released.
The CDC is also set to require that non-citizen travelers provide their phone numbers and emails addresses to allow for enhanced contract tracing
U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) who are unvaccinated will be allowed to travel to the United States but will have to show proof of a negative COVID test within one day of their flight. In addition, those individuals will also be required to provide proof that they have purchased a viral test that they will be required to take upon entry into the United States.
As noted above, the Biden Administration has not released a specific date for the policy change, but the White House is expected to issue an official policy statement prior to November. Until the official policy is released, international travelers subject to the regional COVID-19 travel bans should continue to obtain National Interest Exceptions (“NIE”) for travel to the United States, unless exempt. The Law Office of George K. Gomez, P.A. is Here for You
Here at The Law Office of George K. Gomez, our immigration attorneys are keeping up to date with the latest travel requirements including vaccination and testing protocols. Should you have questions regarding this new COVID-19 vaccine requirement, National Interest Exceptions for travel, or whether you are exempt from the new policy, our immigration attorneys can evaluate your case and help determine your best path moving forward.
For more information, visit The Law Office of George K. Gomez, P.A. on the web at www.gomezlawfirm.org or contact us for a consultation with an Immigration Attorney in Miami-Dade County, FL. Our telephone number is (305) 539-0991.