After a year and a half of blocking most non-U.S. citizens from traveling to America, in a never-before seen effort to battle the health crisis, America is finally lifting international travel restrictions..but only for those who are vaccinated.
Beginning in early November, most passengers arriving from China, India, Britain and many other European countries, who have received the shot, will be allowed to enter, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients announced on Monday.
There will be some exceptions to the vaccine policy, officials said. Children not yet eligible to be vaccinated will not have to comply... And the new rules do not yet apply to travelers crossing land borders with Mexico and Canada.
The United States currently bars most non-U.S. citizens who have been in Britain, parts of Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil within the last 14 days.
The U.S. has been under intense pressure to ease restrictions - particularly on U.K. travelers. Travel across the Atlantic is one of the world's busiest and most lucrative international routes.
Monday's decision comes ahead of a visit this week to the White House by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, where the topic was expected to come up.
Britain started allowing fully vaccinated U.S. travelers to enter the country in August.
Airlines have been lobbying for an end to the ban for months, which was put in place in the early days of the global health crisis back in 2020, hoping the ban would be lifted for the peak summer vacation season....now they're looking forward to the lucrative end-of-the year holiday travel season.
Shares of major U.S. airlines with international routes: Delta, American and United were modestly higher in mid-day Monday trading.
JetBlue, which just started service to the UK in August, moved slightly to the upside.
International Consolidated Airlines Group, parent of British Airways and a host of other European air carriers, surged about 10 percent.