The United States is set to overhaul its travel restrictions on Nov. 8, ushering in a new system that makes U.S. tourism possible for millions of fully vaccinated foreign nationals.
“The US’ new travel policy that requires vaccination for foreign national travellers to the United States will begin on Nov 8,” Kevin Munoz, White House assistant press secretary said in a tweet Friday. “This announcement and date apply to both international air travel and land travel. This policy is guided by public health, stringent, and consistent.”
The new travel system essentially drops the travel ban that has prevented most inbound travel from dozens of countries – including most European Union member states, the United Kingdom and China – since early 2020. Meanwhile, travellers from countries that were not part of the ban will face more stringent entry requirements with a new vaccine mandate.
Foreign national air travellers will need to provide proof of vaccination status to fly to the U.S. They will also need to show a pre-departure negative COVID test taken no more than three days ahead of boarding, according to a White House official not authorized to speak on the record.
International visitors who cross land borders with Canada and Mexico or by passenger ferry for non-essential reasons will also be required to be vaccinated and show vaccination proof, the White House official continued. By January, foreign national travellers crossing land borders for both essential and non-essential reasons will need to be fully vaccinated.
The CDC confirmed Friday that it would accept a mix-and-match approach to vaccinations. Travellers who have any combination of FDA- or WHO-approved vaccines will be considered fully vaccinated.
The new travel system also adds more stringent testing requirements for unvaccinated U.S. travellers.
Vaccinated Americans will still need to show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken no more than three days before departure. If unvaccinated, they will need to take a test one day before departure and test again upon arrival. Americans won’t have to show proof of vaccination to board international flights to the U.S.
Friday’s announcement sheds more light on the upcoming travel policy changes, which were first announced on Sept. 20. The government had initially said the new policy would go into place in “early November,” leaving foreign nationals questioning when to make or adjust travel plans.
Additional guidance from the CDC and other federal agencies is expected ahead of Nov. 8.