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Strengthened U.S. Travel Restrictions Begin Due to the Omicron Variant

Just as it seemed that the world was opening back up to international travel, a new COVID-19 variant has appeared and thrown a wrench into these plans. Now, the Biden administration has announced new changes to travel that affect both Americans and international travelers coming to the U.S. 

The first major change affects air travel COVID testing protocols. Previously, fully vaccinated passengers had up to 3 days prior to their U.S.-bound flight to receive a COVID test. The updated regulations are that any traveler aged two or older must receive a pre-arrival COVID test within one day of flying to the U.S. To enter the U.S. quarantine free all non-citizens of the U.S. must be fully vaccinated. The updated protocol goes into effect on December 6, 2021. There is still currently no testing requirement when coming into the U.S. across a land border. 

The TSA has also announced that its mask mandate has been extended to March 18, 2022. This mandate applies for any commercial transit within, departing from, or arriving in the U.S. Upon the March 18 date the TSA will review their mandate. President Biden has made the TSA mask mandate a federal law with possible legal and financial penalties for failure to comply. The minimum fine for not wearing your mask is $500, with a maximum penalty of $3,500. In essence, if you are two years old and up, you need to wear your mask on all forms of TSA transport.

New travel regulations are coming out every week with the appearance/disappearance of COVID-19 and its variants. Be sure to follow Berardi Immigration Law’s social media channels for all the latest immigration news!