Vaccinations Required to Enter U.S. Starting November 8

COVID VACCINE AND TESTING REQUIREMENTS FOR ENTRY TO THE U.S. BY AIR – EFFECTIVE MONDAY, NOVEMBER 8

On October 25, 2021, President Biden issued Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-⁠19 Pandemic, which lifts the geographic travel ban restrictions and replaces them with a global requirement that “noncitizens who are nonimmigrants” traveling to the United States by air from any part of the world establish that they are fully vaccinated, with some limited exceptions.

A separate CDC order will also continue to require all air travelers to show results of a negative coronavirus test taken three days (if fully vaccinated) or one day (if not fully vaccinated and entering under an exception) preceding their flight’s departure from a foreign country traveling to the United States.

“Noncitizens who are nonimmigrants” who are traveling by air will have to show both the negative COVID viral test and documentation that they are either fully vaccinated or are eligible for an exception to the vaccination requirement.

Acceptable Vaccines

The CDC webpage Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers lists the approved vaccines as acceptable for this purpose.

Vaccination with a vaccine not on the FDA or WHO Approved lists would not satisfy Presidential Proclamation of October 25, 2021 requirements until the FDA or WHO adds the vaccine to their lists.

Meaning of “Fully Vaccinated”

According to CDC webpage Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers, you are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks (14 days) after your dose of an accepted single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after your second dose of an accepted 2-dose series COVID-19 vaccine; or
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after you received the full series of an “active” (not placebo) COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S.-based AstraZeneca or Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trials
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after you received 2 doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart*

If you don’t meet these requirements, you are NOT considered fully vaccinated.

Proof of Vaccination

CDC Technical Instructions: Types of Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination state that “Airlines or aircraft operators must confirm that every Covered Individual, unless excepted, has presented Proof of Being Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States from any foreign country. Airlines or aircraft operators must review each passenger’s paper or digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination to confirm:

  • the personal identifiers (at a minimum, full name and date of birth) on the proof of vaccination match the personal identifiers on the passenger’s passport or other travel identification document; AND
  • the passenger meets CDC’s definition of Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19.

CDC Technical Instructions: Types of Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination and Table 1. Acceptable Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination describe acceptable proof and provide examples.

Exemptions

U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and U.S. lawful permanent residents (green card holders) are exempt from the vaccination requirement to enter the U.S.

Exceptions – NOTE: Entry to the U.S. under an exception will generally require Vaccination within 60 Days of Arrival.

There are limited exceptions for the vaccination requirement to enter the U.S.  To be able to enter under an exception, a person claiming an Exception must present a completed Excepted Covered Individual Attestation.

Proclamation Section 3(b) also contains a number of important exceptions for certain covered “noncitizens who are nonimmigrants.” Nonimmigrants who are not fully vaccinated but who are traveling by air to the United States under one of the Section 3(b) exceptions are referred to Excepted Covered Individuals in the CDC Order Implementing Proclamation on Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic. In general see CDC Technical Instructions: Procedures for Confirming Documentation of Excepted Covered Individuals Who Do Not Present Proof of Being Fully Vaccinated.

  1. Exceptions for Citizens of a foreign country with valid non-immigrant visas (except B-1/B-2 visas) where the availability of COVID-19 vaccination is limited (defined by the CDC’s List of Foreign Countries with Limited COVID-19 Vaccine Availability)
  2. Exceptions for Noncitizens who are children under 18 years of age, or noncitizens for whom a COVID-19 vaccination is contraindicated or inappropriate.
  3. Exceptions for any noncitizen or group of noncitizens whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees (NOTE: This has not been defined, but it likely will not be the same as the National Interest Exception allowed for students and academics under the prior COVID Travel Bans).
  4. Exceptions for Diplomats, employees of international organizations, and similar.
  5. Other exceptions are possible for participants in COVID Vaccine clinical trials, members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses or children, and C-1 and D crew members.

No exception for religious reasons or other moral convictions – According to CDC FAQs, “there are no exceptions under the Presidential Proclamation and CDC’s Order for religious reasons or other moral convictions.” Likewise, the CDC Order Implementing Proclamation on Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic states: “Objections to vaccination based on religious or moral convictions do not qualify under this or any other exception listed in the Proclamation or this Order.”

60-Day Vaccination Requirement for Excepted Covered Individuals Admitted to the United States Under a 3(b) Exception

Nonimmigrants who enter the U.S. under an exception and are not fully vaccinated (referred to Excepted Covered Individuals in CDC guidance), are required to “…become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 within 60 days of arriving in the United States, within some other timeframe as determined by the Director of the CDC, or as soon as medically appropriate as determined by the Director of the CDC, and must provide proof of having arranged to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 after arriving in the United States.

Updated COVID-19 Test Requirements – Additional to Vaccine Requirements

On October 25, 2021 CDC amended its original January 25, 2021 Order, titled, “Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States.” The amendment updates COVID-19 testing requirements for air passengers 2 years or older boarding a flight to the United States, depending on COVID-19 vaccination status.

  • Fully vaccinated individuals: A viral COVID test (i.e., a nucleic acid amplification test [NAAT] or a viral antigen test) must be conducted no more than 3 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country.
  • Not fully vaccinated: A viral COVID test (i.e., a nucleic acid amplification test [NAAT] or a viral antigen test)  must be conducted on a sample taken no more than 1 day before the flight’s departure from a foreign country if the traveler does not show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This also includes nonimmigrants who are not fully vaccinated, but who are requesting admission to the United States under an exception to the vaccination requirement of Proclamation of October 25, 2021.