The government of the United States of America has said it will lift COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated international visitors beginning from November 8, 2021.
This is coming almost two years after the U.S. government imposed restrictions on certain categories of travellers who are non-US citizens.
Restrictions on non-US citizens were first imposed on air travellers from China in January 2020. It was further extended to dozens of other countries including India.
Curbs on non-essential travellers at land borders with Mexico and Canada have been in place since March 2020 to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The US government on Friday announced that foreign national air travellers to the United States will be required –with only limited exceptions– to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding.
This means that visitors from the European Union, United Kingdom, and other countries will be allowed entry into the United States as long as they are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The government said the new global travel system replaces the existing country-by-country restrictions, putting inplace a consistent approach worldwide.
It noted that with the implementation of these new vaccine requirements, foreign national travellers who have been in one of the 33 countries with restrictions do not need to obtain national interest exceptions in order to travel to the United States.
Reuters quoted U.S. president Joe Biden as saying “We decided to adopt an air travel policy that relies primarily on vaccination to advance the safe resumption of international air travel to the U.S.”
Mr Biden also said children under 18 are exempted from the new vaccine requirements as are people with some medical issues.
Non-tourist travellers from nearly 50 countries with nationwide vaccination rates of less than 10 per cent will also be eligible for exemption from the rules.