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Green and Spiegel - An Immigration Law Firm
Nov 2, 2021

Guidance for entry to the U.S. as of November 8th at 12:01 am EST

Featuring: Rachel More

New Blog Post

If you are planning to travel to the United States by air on or after November 8, 2021, this is what you need to know:

Vaccine Requirement

  • Non-US citizens and non-immigrant air travellers must be fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine or combination thereof. The approved vaccines include:
    • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Single Dose)
    • Pfizer-BioNTech
    • Moderna
    • AstraZeneca
    • Covishield
    • BIBP/Sinopharm
    • Sinovac
  • You are considered fully vaccinated for US air travel if it has been:
    • 2 weeks (14 days) after your dose of an accepted single-dose COVID-19 vaccine;
    • 2 weeks (14 days) after your second dose of an accepted 2-dose series COVID-19 vaccine;
    • 2 weeks (14 days) after you received the full series of an “active” (not placebo) COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S.-based AstraZeneca or Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trials; or
    • 2 weeks (14 days) after you received 2 doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart;
  • Airlines will be responsible for verifying vaccination records to allow passengers to board.

Testing Requirement

  • The fully vaccinated non-US citizen, non-immigrant air travellers will also need a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours prior to their flight to the United States, or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days;

Exemptions to the Vaccine Requirement

  • US Citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) can fly to the US while unvaccinated, but will be required to show a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 24 hours prior to their flight;
  • Children under 18 are exempt from the vaccine requirement but will require a negative COVID-19 test result prior to boarding a plane to the US. The timing for the test depends on who they are travelling with:
    • If travelling alone or with fully vaccinated adults, unvaccinated children under 18 need a negative result from 72 hours prior to their flight;
    • If travelling with unvaccinated adults, unvaccinated children under 18 need a negative result from 24 hours prior to their flight;
  • Certain COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants;
  • Those with medical contraindications to the vaccines;
  • Those who need to travel for emergency or humanitarian reasons (with a US government-issued letter affirming the urgent need to travel);
  • Those who are travelling on non-tourist visas from countries with low-vaccine availability (as determined by the CDC);
  • Those who qualify for national interest exceptions (NIEs), though previously issued NIEs will not be honoured; and
  • Other very narrow categories.

Please note that in addition to requiring a negative COVID-19 result within 24 hours of their flight to the US, those who qualify for a vaccine requirement exemption will likely face increased scrutiny as well as testing following arrival in the US. Additionally, they will be obligated to get vaccinated within 60 days of their arrival if their stay in the US will be longer than 60 days.  

Contact Tracing

  • Airlines will be responsible to collect passengers’ emails, addresses, and phone numbers;
  • This information will be provided to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the circumstance that passengers were potentially infected or exposed to COVID-19.

If you are planning to travel to the US via land, entry for vaccinated non-essential travellers will be permitted as of November 8, 2021. Essential travellers crossing at land borders do need to be vaccinated until January 2022, with the specific date TBD. As of now, there is no requirement for a test in advance of entry by land, and it will be up to the US Customs and Border Protection officers to verify vaccine records. 

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