The Biden administration has announced that international visitors fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to enter the US in November, including those from the UK and EU.
Non-US citizens will have to show evidence of vaccination and a 3-day prior negative COVID-19 test result, said Jeff Zients, who is leading Covid response efforts in the US for the White House.
The same will take effect in early November and the US airline industry is expecting a spur in flight bookings due to the same.
There will, however, be a few exemptions to the vaccination requirements for international travellers, such as for children not yet eligible for Covid vaccination, said a person familiar with the strategy.
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Airlines and other groups in the travel industry had been asking the US government to lift the travel restrictions for months. The previous US government had issued the guidelines in March last year, which now apply to over 30 countries.
President Joe Biden upheld these rules in January, soon after taking office.
The current government is also issuing tighter restrictions for unvaccinated US citizens returning home. They will be asked to get tested for Covid-19 one day before departure and test again after arriving in the US.
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British and European officials have lifted entry restrictions for the US and other visitors after vaccines started becoming widely available this spring. However, the US had not done the same.
The ban on non-US citizens had wide-ranging impacts on several industries including retail, restaurants and airlines.
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The US has also asked the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to collect passenger information from airlines in order to aid contract tracing.
On September 20, 2021, shares of Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines rose after the announcement. These airlines with the most international services of US airlines will benefit from this change in policy.
In June, the US, EU, Mexico, UK and Canada announced they would create a group to study how safely they can ease restrictions for international visitors and reopen international travel.