The Biden administration is working on a plan to require all foreign travelers to the U.S. to require proof of vaccination against COVID-19, multiple outlets reported on Wednesday.
The administration plans “to have a new system ready for when we can reopen travel,” including “a phased approach that over time will mean, with limited exceptions, that foreign nationals traveling to the United States (from all countries) need to be fully vaccinated,” a White House official told Reuters.
Current restrictions will remain in place for the foreseeable future because of the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, the official added.
The administration currently bans non-U.S. residents from entering the country if they have spent time in any European country in the Schengen area, the U.K., Ireland, South Africa, India, Brazil, or China within the past 14 days. Foreigners from Canada or Mexico must be considered essential workers, such as truck drivers, to be permitted to enter the U.S. via land borders.
The policy has come under criticism from stranded travelers, including separated families, as well as the U.S. tourism industry. European nations, Canada, and Mexico all permit American tourists to fly in.
The Trump administration initiated sweeping travel restrictions affecting various nations at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020. While former president Trump rescinded those restrictions in January 2021, President Biden immediately reinstated the restrictions upon taking office.