Oct 25, 2021 - World

U.S. releases updated vaccination, testing rules for foreign travelers

COVID testing site at airport

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Foreign travelers will be allowed entry to the U.S. beginning Nov. 8 if they can provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination with a shot authorized by the World Health Organization and a negative test within three days of departure, the White House announced Monday.

Why it matters: The updated guidance, which exempts children under the age of 18 from the vaccine requirement, is intended to provide further clarity for airlines and foreign nationals who have been restricted from traveling to the U.S. since early 2020.

Details: Travelers will be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their last dose of a WHO-authorized vaccine, which includes four options that have not been authorized by the FDA: AstraZeneca, Covishield, Sinopharm and Sinovac. Mixed-dose vaccines will also be accepted.

  • Children under 18 will not need to provide proof of vaccination due to their ineligibility in many countries, but those between the ages of 2 and 17 will still be required to test negative within the previous three days.
  • Limited exemptions will be applied to foreign nationals with medical contraindications to the vaccine, those traveling for emergency or humanitarian reasons, or those from countries with a vaccination rate below 10% due to a lack of supply.
  • Unvaccinated travelers, regardless of citizenship or visa status, will need to test negative for COVID-19 within one day of departure, rather than the previous three-day requirement.

Between the lines: Millions of people have received vaccines that are not currently authorized for emergency use by the WHO, such as Russia's Sputnik V. For now, they will continue to be restricted from traveling to the U.S.

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