Biden Administration to Lift COVID Restrictions on Foreign Travelers

A British Airways plane arrives from London at JFK International Airport in New York, December 21, 2020. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

The Biden administration announced Monday that it is lifting restrictions on vaccinated foreign travelers.

The new policy will take effect in early November.

“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,” White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters. “Foreign nationals flying to the U.S. will be required to be fully vaccinated.”

Foreign travelers will be required to provide proof of vaccination, as well as a negative coronavirus test within three days prior to departure to the U.S. Vaccines accepted for travel to the U.S. will be determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Zients said.

Currently, most non-American citizens are barred from entering the U.S. if they have passed through the U.K. or EU nations within the past 14 days, in what is an effective ban on travel from Europe to the U.S. Similar restrictions on travel from India, China, and other nations are also in place.

The restrictions were initially implemented by the Trump administration in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, and the Biden administration expanded the restriction to include India in April due to concerns of the spread of the Delta variant.

Americans with family members in Europe have decried the restrictions, with many families struggling to meet in person over the course of the pandemic. European governments have also derided the continuing restrictions as illogical. British officials have pointed out that the U.S. does not ban travel from Caribbean nations or Argentina, despite the fact that the U.K.’s vaccination rate is higher than those countries’, the New York Times reported.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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