U.S. Will Lift COVID-19 Travel Restrictions for Vaccinated Travelers
On Monday, September 20th the Biden administration announced that it will lift travel restrictions for foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus starting in November of this year. For the past year and a half, various travel restrictions have kept foreign nationals from entering the U.S. Nationals from 33 countries have faced strict restrictions. This news opens up travel plans for foreign nationals wishing to come to the United States, as well as visa pathways for those who want to work and live in the United States on a temporary basis.
Since Summer 2020 certain foreign nationals from the E.U., China, Iran, South Africa, Brazil, India and more have been unable to enter the country. Permanent residents, also known as green card holders, have generally been allowed to enter the country.
Foreign nationals who want to travel to the United States must now provide proof of vaccination as well as a negative COVID-19 test in the three days before coming to the U.S. Unvaccinated Americans who want to return to their country must additionally clear a higher level of testing requirements. Unvaccinated Americans must provide a negative test result prior to flying, and provide evidence that they have purchased a test to take upon arriving in the U.S.
This news is a welcome development in the scope of U.S. travel and immigration. Given the changing shape of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as changing immigration policy in the U.S. the opportunity for vaccinated travelers to come to the country after 18 months of delays and restrictions signals a new era for the country. Countless international professionals and families have been forced to put their personal and professional goals in the U.S. on pause, and for those that already live and work in the US, the looming challenge of making plans to return to their home countries no longer comes with the added stress of planning the return flight to the U.S.
This development surely will reunite family members who have not seen each other throughout the past 18 months. Additionally, it means that those who are pursuing visa status in the U.S. will be able to follow through on their goals and activate their visas, thus allowing them to continue their careers in the U.S.
On the other side of the spectrum, this news also clarifies policies for unvaccinated travelers hoping to travel to the U.S. According to the Biden administration, unvaccinated people will generally be banned from visiting the U.S., even if they are traveling from other countries that have not faced travel restrictions when coming to the U.S. throughout the pandemic. These additional restrictions will in turn complicate travel for foreign nationals traveling from countries where vaccines are not as available.
Are you a foreign national whose visa or green card plans were put on pause throughout the course of the pandemic? Are you a vaccinated traveler who is interested to learn more about what this news means for your travel or work plans? Are you a family member who wants to pursue a family based green card in the U.S. now that you can travel to the country?
Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team to schedule a consultation. Given this news, we expect many travelers will resume their plans in the U.S. Getting started on your visa or green card as soon as possible could help you and your goals in the long run.