The United States is set to overhaul its travel restrictions Nov. 8, ushering in a new system that makes U.S. tourism possible for millions of fully vaccinated foreign nationals.
"The US’ new travel policy that requires vaccination for foreign national travelers to the United States will begin on Nov 8," Kevin Munoz, White House assistant press secretary said in a tweet Friday. "This announcement and date applies to both international air travel and land travel. This policy is guided by public health, stringent, and consistent."
The new travel system essentially drops the travel ban that has prevented most inbound travel from dozens of countries – including most European Union member states, the United Kingdom and China – since early 2020. Meanwhile, travelers from countries that were not part of the ban will face more stringent entry requirements with a new vaccine mandate.
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Entry requirements for foreign tourists
Foreign national air travelers will need to provide proof of vaccination status to fly to the U.S. They will also need to show a pre-departure negative COVID test taken no more than three days ahead of boarding, according to a White House official not authorized to speak on the record.
International visitors who cross land borders with Canada and Mexico or by passenger ferry for non-essential reasons will also be required to be vaccinated and show vaccination proof, the White House official continued. By January, foreign national travelers crossing land borders for both essential and non-essential reasons will need to be fully vaccinated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and World Health Organization will be accepted for air travel. The White House official said the same will likely be true for land travel.
As of Friday, vaccines approved for emergency use by the WHO include:
Johnson & Johnson
The CDC confirmed Friday that it would accept a mix-and-match approach to vaccinations. Travelers who have any combination of FDA- or WHO-approved vaccines will be considered fully vaccinated.
The new travel system also adds more stringent testing requirements for unvaccinated U.S. travelers.
Vaccinated Americans will still need to show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken no more than three days before departure. If unvaccinated, they will need to take a test one day before departure and test again upon arrival. Americans won't have to show proof of vaccination to board international flights to the U.S.
A 'critically important' date
Friday's announcement sheds more light on the upcoming travel policy changes, which were first announced Sept. 20. The government had initially said the new policy would go into place in "early November," leaving foreign nationals questioning when to make or adjust travel plans.
Additional guidance from the CDC and other federal agencies is expected ahead of Nov. 8.
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Trade groups and tourists alike welcomed the news on Friday.
“The date is critically important for planning – for airlines, for travel-supported businesses, and for millions of travelers worldwide who will now advance plans to visit the United States once again," U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement Friday. "Reopening to international visitors will provide a jolt to the economy and accelerate the return of travel-related jobs that were lost due to travel restrictions."
Nicholas Calio, president and CEO of airline industry trade group Airlines for America, said international travel has already seen an increase in ticket sales over the past weeks.
"(We) are eager to begin safely reuniting the countless families, friends and colleagues who have not seen each other in nearly two years, if not longer," Calio said in a Friday statement.
International travelers, many of whom have been separated from friends and family in the U.S. for nearly two years, took to social media once the news hit.
12 days before my due date! THANK YOU finally! #LoveIsNotTourism I'll be hugging my mam and dad next month for the first time in almost 2 years, and they will get to hug their first grandchild. 🙏❤ https://t.co/q6pRECGMZi
— Christa Victoria Furr (@Christaaa1990) October 15, 2021
Crying in the library lmaoo it's officially happening. Travel ban is lifted after 570 days 🇺🇸#LoveIsNotTourism
— maría 👻 (@SPunksoul) October 15, 2021
— Annie 🇩🇪🤍🇺🇸 (@QueenOfHartz4) October 15, 2021
I’m not sure how to articulate what the end of the travel ban means to us. I’m not even happy about it. Just relieved and exhausted. I don’t blame anyone, it was a tough issue, but it feels like a weight has lifted. #LoveIsNotTourism
— Lorna McLean-Thomas (@LornaMcLeanTho1) October 15, 2021
Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: US to allow vaccinated international tourists to enter country Nov. 8