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USA Lifts Travel Bans but Imposes Extensive Vaccination Requirements on Foreign Nationals Planning to Travel to the USA

Posted by Immigration Bureau | Tips |
November 22, 2021

Beginning on November 8, 2021, the USA is ending the COVID-19 related travel restrictions.

USA  Lifts Travel Bans but Imposes Extensive  Vaccination Requirements on  Foreign Nationals Planning to Travel to the USA

In its place, the US government  requires most nonimmigrant international travelers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before being admitted to the United States. Non immigrant means they are coming to the USA on the  visa waiver (ESTA),  or an array  of   temporary non immigrant  visas, such as B1, B-2, H1b, E-3,  E2, E-1, L-1, O-1, etc. Before  boarding the aircraft or ship  for the USA,  foreign nationals  traveling  to the USA   will be required to provide proof that they are “fully” vaccinated  against COVID.  Full  vaccination  is achieved if any one of the following requirements are met:

  • 2 weeks (14 days) after a dose of the  single-dose Johnson and Johnson/Janssen  
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after the second dose of an accepted 2-dose series COVID-19 vaccine
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after the full series of an “active” (not placebo) COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S.-based AstraZeneca or Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trials
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after 2 doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart

The list of acceptable vaccines [at the time of this writing] is as follows:

  1. Janssen / Johnson & Johnson (Single Dose)
  2. Pfizer-BioNTech
  3. Moderna
  4. AstraZeneca
  5. Covishield
  6. BIBP/Sinopharm
  7. Sinovac
  8. Covaxin

Several Exceptions to COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

  • Green Card holders, aka “Lawful permanent residents”  and those traveling on an immigrant visa are not  required to provide proof of being fully vaccinated. (They may however still be subject to showing a negative covid test ---to be determined.)
  •  Children under 18 years of age
  • Persons on diplomatic or official foreign government travel
  • Persons with documented medical contraindications to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Participants in certain COVID-19 vaccine trials
  • Persons issued a humanitarian or emergency exception
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces or their spouses or children (under 18 years of age)
  • Sea crew members traveling with a C-1 and D nonimmigrant visa
  • Persons whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, Secretary of Transportation, or Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Persons with valid visas [excluding B-1 (business) or B-2 (tourism) visas] who are citizens of a foreign country with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability (Details need to be provided)
  • President Biden’s “proclamation” does not  address the issue of the hundred of thousands of people  who   enter the USA after arriving at the  US border and request political asylum and are then allowed in nor does it mention if they will be vaccinating unaccompanied 'minors'.

If an unvaccinated nonimmigrant is admitted to the United States under one of the above  exceptions, based on the category of the exception, the foreign national may be subject to a number of additional requirements, including testing, self-quarantine, and self-isolation. Moreover, if the individual intends to remain in the United States for  for longer than 60 days, that person might be required to get vaccinated- this remains to be seen.


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