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BREAKING: White House announces fully vaccinated foreign visitors can enter the U.S. beginning November 8

Which foreign travelers can enter the United States by AIR on November 8?

ALL foreign national air travelers must be fully vaccinated to enter the U.S. after November 8, regardless of their purpose of travel.

This is a welcome change for those traveling from the UK, Ireland, most Schengen countries, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil, where travel restrictions have been in place since March 2020. Visitors for pleasure, business visitors, and employment authorized visa holders will be permitted to enter without needing the formerly required National Interest Exception. Normal U.S. immigration requirements and entry rules still apply – i.e. a valid ESTA or visa is still required to present for entry.

Notably, the vaccine policy for international flyers is a significant change for Canadians, who have been able to fly into the U.S. from Canada without proving vaccine status throughout the pandemic.

Which foreign travelers can enter the United States by LAND and FERRY ports of entry from Canada and Mexico?

Beginning November 8, fully vaccinated, non-essential visitors (visitors for pleasure or business visitors) may enter the U.S. by land/ferry. Testing requirements are not required for entry by land. This is good news for Canadian visitor snowbirds, who have been restricted from entering through land ports since March 2020.

Non-vaccinated, essential visitors (i.e. those with valid employment-based visas, work permits, or visitors otherwise deemed essential by CBP) will continue to be permitted to enter the U.S. at land ports, regardless of vaccination status. However, by January 2022, it is expected that all foreign nationals traveling across the land border for both essential and non-essential reasons will be required to be fully vaccinated. Additional details are expected.

Which vaccines will be accepted for entry?

The CDC has already informed airlines that all FDA approved vaccines, and those that have Emergency Use Listing (EUL) from the WHO will be accepted for air travel. It is anticipated that the same will be true at the land border, but this has not been officially confirmed.

Specifically, on Oct. 11, it was confirmed by a CDC spokesperson that ONLY vaccines which are approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or listed for emergency use by World Health Organization (WHO) will be accepted for international flying to the US. As of today, the FDA has approved the Pfizer BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines. The WHO has also approved those, plus the Oxford-AstraZeneca/Covishield, Sinopharm, and Sinovac vaccines. Mixed doses or other types of vaccines are not currently accepted.

Travelers should be prepared to attest to vaccination status and to present proof of vaccination to a CBP officer upon request.

Follow us for more! Additional information is forthcoming.

It is not yet known if there will be an app or other formal means of screening for vaccination status, or if mixed doses or other types of COVID vaccines will be accepted. There are conflicting reports on whether testing requirements will still be required for flying into the U.S. Testing is not anticipated for land entry.

A White House official also told CNN correspondents that further guidance on “very limited exceptions” to the requirements is forthcoming, along with confirmation of what Covid-19 vaccines will be accepted and other operational details in advance of the November 8 date.