White House says fully vaccinated foreign visitors can start entering US on November 8

A passenger in full protective suit uses a phone while waiting to board a flight at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Vietnam has resumed air travel after several months of suspension due to COVID-19 outbreak. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)

(CNN) – Foreign visitors who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to travel to the United States starting on November 8, the White House said Friday.

“The US’ new travel policy that requires vaccination for foreign national travelers to the United States will begin on Nov 8,” said Kevin Munoz, White House assistant press secretary, on Twitter. “This announcement and date applies to both international air travel and land travel. This policy is guided by public health, stringent, and consistent.”

Reuters was first to report the November 8 date.

The move would relax a patchwork of bans that had begun to cause fury abroad and replacing them with more uniform requirements for inbound international air passengers. It will come as welcome news to the travel industry, which had been lobbying the federal government to lift some of the rules preventing international tourism, as well as airlines, hotels and hospitality groups.

A White House official told CNN further guidance on “very limited exceptions” to the requirements, along with what Covid-19 vaccines will be accepted and other operational details in advance of the November 8 date. 

“CDC has already informed airlines that all FDA approved and authorized vaccines, as well as all vaccines that have an Emergency Use Listing (EUL) from the WHO will be accepted for air travel. We anticipate the same will be true at the land border,” the official said.

The same rules will also apply to non-essential travel at the American land borders and to visitors who arrive in the US by passenger ferry.

“These travelers are required to be prepared to attest to vaccination status and to present proof of vaccination to a CBP officer upon request,” the official said. “By January, foreign nationals traveling across the land border for both essential and non-essential reasons will be required to be fully vaccinated.

“Airlines have been voicing their support for Biden’s new travel policy. Airlines for America President and CEO Nick Calio said he is pleased with the news and that the safe reopening of borders is essential for the nation’s economic recovery. 

“U.S. airlines have been strong advocates for an individual risk-based system to safely ease travel restrictions, and we recognize that the safe reopening of borders is essential for our nation’s economic recovery. The full reopening of international travel is also critical to reviving economies around the globe, reinvigorating communities and supporting millions of jobs in the U.S. and abroad,” Calio said in a statement. 

He continued: “We have seen an increase in ticket sales for international travel over the past weeks, and are eager to begin safely reuniting the countless families, friends and colleagues who have not seen each other in nearly two years, if not longer.

“US travel bans were first imposed in the earliest days of the pandemic when then-President Donald Trump limited travel from China in January 2020. That step failed to prevent the virus from reaching the United States, but additional countries were added to the list as health officials pressed the White House to limit entry from places where case rates were high.

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