U.S. Reopening Borders to Vaccinated Travelers in November

The United States will open its borders to international travelers who are fully inoculated against COVID-19 starting in early November. Travelers will also need to show proof of a negative test from within three days of travel to the U.S but no quarantine will be required.

“International travel is critical to connecting families and friends, to fueling small and large businesses, to promoting the open exchange ideas and culture,” Jeff Zients, the White House pandemic coordinator, said Monday, as reported by The New York Times. “That’s why, with science and public health as our guide, we have developed a new international air travel system that both enhances the safety of Americans here at home and enhances the safety of international air travel.”

The reopening plan will not just effect Europe and the U.K. but China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa and India—as long as those travelers show proof of being fully vaccinated, according to PBS’ Yamiche Alcindor. The United States’ borders have largely remained closed for travel to these countries since March 2020.

As far as unvaccinated Americans who are traveling back home, they will have to test negative for coronavirus one day before traveling and then take another test upon arrival. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to The Times, will direct airlines to collect phone numbers and email addresses of travelers for a new contact-tracing system.

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) in a statement following the announcement, said, “We welcome the Biden Administration’s announcement of long overdue changes to the myriad inbound travel restrictions that have been in place since early 2020. We view this as a key milestone toward restarting the international travel system on which so many of our members depend. Based on news reports, the plan incorporates several of the common-sense measures we called for along with our travel industry colleagues recently, including expeditiously developing clear vaccination and testing standards, loosening entry restrictions for fully-vaccinated travelers, and aligning standards with the governments of our main outbound markets, including Canada, the E.U., and the U.K. 

“There are bound to be challenges in implementing this program between now and November, and we look forward to working with the Administration and our members to resolve them as expeditiously as possible. 

“The travel industry as a whole will not recover from COVID until international travel restarts in earnest. Today marks a big step forward toward that goal.”

In a separate statement, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said, "The U.S. Travel Association applauds the Biden Administration’s announcement of a roadmap to reopen air travel to vaccinated individuals from around the world, which will help revive the American economy and protect public health.

"This is a major turning point in the management of the virus and will accelerate the recovery of the millions of travel-related jobs that have been lost due to international travel restrictions.

"The U.S. Travel Association expresses its deep appreciation to the President and his advisors—in particular Commerce Secretary [Gina] Raimondo, who has been a tireless advocate—for working with the industry to develop a plan to restart international travel and safely reconnect America with the world."

According to The Times, the U.S. is averaging over 148,000 daily new COVID-19 cases, an 8 percent drop over the past 14 days. Hospitalizations over that span are also down 8 percent; however, deaths (over 2,000 reported on September 19) are up 29 percent. Fifty-four percent of the total population has been fully vaccinated, while 64 percent of those 12 and up (the group currently eligible for vaccination) are fully vaccinated.

Despite the announcement, the Biden Administration has not yet said what the plan will be for reopening the United States’ land borders with Canada and Mexico.

Related Stories

Chile Reopening Borders to Foreign Travelers on October 1

Netherlands Drops Quarantine for Vaccinated Americans

France, Austria Instate Quarantines for Unvaccinated Americans

Switzerland Closing to Non-Vaccinated Americans