By early November, the United States will ease foreign travel restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, White House officials said on Monday (Sept 20).
The plan is to revoke a travel ban on visitors from 33 countries, which was first implemented to halt the spread of COVID-19.
The new policies will require all foreign travellers flying to the U.S. to show proof of vaccination before boarding, as well as proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of their flight.
The U.S. is also planning to tighten up its testing rules for unvaccinated American citizens, who will need to be tested within a day before returning to the U.S., as well as after they arrive home, said White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients.
Additionally, fully vaccinated passengers will not be required to quarantine, Zients said.
“This is based on individuals rather than a country based approach, so it’s a stronger system,” said Jeffrey Zients, the White House COVID-19 co-ordinator, in a statement.
The update will change the way Canadians fly to the United States. Until now, Canadians entering the U.S. by air have only been required to show a negative antigen test prior to boarding.
The new rules will replace the United States’ current policy that restricts travel by non-U.S. citizens who have visited the United Kingdom, European Union, China, India, Iran, Republic of Ireland, Brazil and South Africa within 14 days.
As previously reported, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also expect airlines to collect contact information from international travellers to facilitate contact tracing.
It is still unclear as to which vaccines will be accepted in the U.S. system.
It is also unclear how U.S. President Joe Biden's new travel policy will impact restrictions at the U.S.-Canada land border.
The changes announced on Monday only apply to air travel and do not affect restrictions at the land border, Zients said, as reported by the New York Times.
The U.S.-Canada and Mexico land borders will be closed until at least October 21, Zients said on Monday. The order was set to expire tomorrow (Sept. 21)
The land border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020, but Canada reopened its side to Americans on Aug. 9.
With files from The Associated Press.