After 19 months, the United States lift travel restrictions on foreigners, who must comply with a series of health requirements due to the coronavirus pandemic as of November 8. The Joe Biden Administration has delivered new details on Monday so that people who plan to visit the country can organize themselves and do not get a surprise at the boarding gate. The new travel policy will benefit tourists who were previously prohibited from entering the European Union, the United Kingdom, China, India and Brazil. It also harms travelers from countries that have received a vaccine that is not supported by the WHO or the US drug regulator (FDA).
Is it mandatory to be vaccinated to enter the US?
Yes. Before traveling, foreigners must present to the employees of the contracted airline the vaccination certificate of the complete schedule, either in digital or paper format. They must have received the single dose of Johnson & Johnson, or the second of any of the other brands, two weeks before. In addition, they will be required to have a negative covid test performed within three days prior to boarding.
Will exceptions be made?
Yes. Those under 18 years of age and travelers from countries with a vaccination rate of less than 10% due to the lack of availability of vaccines will be able to enter without being inoculated (WHO updates the list in which there are about 50 countries). The US Government clarified that the latter need to have a “specific and convincing” reason for wanting to enter the country. They will not be asked for a vaccination certificate, but they will be asked for a negative covid test carried out one day before traveling, except for children under two years of age.
Are there exceptions for medical matters?
Yes. Unvaccinated adults who have medical contraindications, such as allergies, will be accepted to receive a vaccine. Also those who travel for emergency or humanitarian reasons, such as patients for medical treatment on which their lives depend.
Does the United States accept any vaccine?
No. Only vaccines authorized by the United States drug regulatory body or the World Health Organization: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm y Sinovac. This requirement excludes hundreds of millions of people in places like India, Russia, Mexico or Argentina, who have received the vaccine from other brands such as Sputnik V.
Should I apply for the ESTA?
Yes. Travelers can request the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) even before booking the flight. The form, which collects data on the passenger’s medical history and possible criminal history, is required by the United States Department of Homeland Security. The digital travel authorization for tourists and business travelers can be requested online and applies to stays of less than 90 days. It is valid for two years, unless your passport expires earlier.
What are the rules for unvaccinated Americans?
Americans traveling from abroad and are not immunized must test negative on the test of the covid one day before returning to their country and show documentation that proves that they bought a test to be carried out after their arrival.