A new travel policy requiring foreign nationals traveling to the United States to demonstrate proof of full COVID-19 vaccination will go into effect on November 8, as announced by the White House on October 15. Accepted vaccines will include vaccines approved or authorized by the FDA and WHO Emergency Vaccines. In light of this announcement, many U.S. consular posts no longer process exceptions of national interest except in emergencies.
These vaccine requirements are expected to replace the admission restrictions in place since 2020, which restrict entry to the United States for people who have stayed in the following countries in the 14-day period prior to admission: Brazil, China, India. , Iran, Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom and Schengen area countries (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). Once the current restrictions are replaced by the new policy, the national interest exceptions will no longer be necessary to the current restrictions.
Based on preliminary information from the White House and the State Department, under the new policy, individuals must be fully immunized with vaccines approved or authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA ), or those that have been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO), which currently includes Moderna, Pfizer / BioNTech, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria), Covishield, Sinopharm and Sinovac. Sputnik V, developed by the Gamaleya National Center, has not yet been licensed. Some participants in the AstraZeneca and Novavax COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials are also eligible for entry under the new directive. Under current guidelines, individuals are considered “fully vaccinated” after the end of a two week period following the second dose in a two-dose series (such as Pfizer / BioNTech or Moderna vaccines), or 2 weeks after. a single dose vaccine (such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine). The CDC has not issued a formal recommendation or approval for the administration of mixed vaccines from different manufacturers, such as receiving the first dose of a Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine and the second dose of a Moderna vaccine. , but the next guidance should provide some clarification.
A government interagency task force is working on developing orders and guidance documents to implement this new travel policy, and those details – for airlines, airline passengers, passengers using other means of transport and people coming to land borders – should be communicated. public well before November 8 so that all stakeholders can understand what is required to be in compliance.
The White House announcement specifically identifies “foreign nationals traveling to the United States” as the subjects of this new travel policy. As a result, Morgan Lewis’ interpretation is that U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents will not be required to produce proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
New vaccine requirements, although apparently replacing national eligibility restrictions, are not expected to change CDC International Travel Requirements requiring a COVID-19 test. As of January 26, 2021, international air passengers, regardless of their citizenship status, must be viral tested no later than three days before traveling by air to the United States and test negative to the airline before d ” get on a flight or be prepared. to show documentation of recovery – proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from a healthcare provider or public health official stating authorization to travel.
As the Biden-Harris administration provides additional guidance on formal admission requirements, we will post additional updates.