What travelers need to know before the new US travel system on Nov. 8

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The United States is about to make it much easier for vaccinated international travelers to visit.

The White House announced Friday that a new air travel system will take effect Nov. 8, allowing entry for fully vaccinated foreign tourists. The system is set to launch more than 20 months after the U.S. began imposing travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The move by the White House will essentially have the U.S. drop its travel ban on dozens of countries while also making entry more challenging for the unvaccinated. The new system will allow entry for foreign nationals only with vaccinations approved by the World Health Organization and would add testing requirements for unvaccinated Americans.

Here’s what we know about the new travel requirements:

A new international air travel system will go into effect Nov. 8, allowing entry into the United States for fully vaccinated foreign tourists.
A new international air travel system will go into effect Nov. 8, allowing entry into the United States for fully vaccinated foreign tourists.

What are the entry requirements for foreign nationals?

Starting Nov. 8, vaccinated foreign air travelers will need to show proof of full vaccination as well as a pre-departure negative coronavirus test taken within three days of travel before they can board a plane to the U.S.

Airlines will collect personal information, including a phone number and email, from all U.S.-bound travelers for contact tracing. Airlines are required to keep the information on hand for 30 days so health officials can follow up with travelers who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Masking will be required, but there will be no quarantine mandate.

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The change will make entering the U.S. possible for travelers from countries now listed on the U.S. travel ban, which prohibits entry for travelers who have been in any of the regions within the past 14 days. The travel bans took effect in early 2020 and include:

  • China
  • Iran
  • United Kingdom
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Brazil
  • South Africa
  • India
  • The European Schengen area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City)

Travelers arriving from countries not included in the ban will face stricter entry requirements come Nov. 8. Currently, the U.S. asks international air passengers only to get tested within three days of their flight to the U.S. and show either the negative test result or proof of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding.