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On October 25, 2021, President Biden issued Presidential Proclamation 10294 adopting COVID-19 vaccination requirements for all international air travelers to the United States and revoking COVID-19 travel bans. The Proclamation took effect on November 8, 2021 allowing vaccinated nonimmigrants to travel by air into the United States, and halting entry into the United States for unvaccinated noncitizen nonimmigrants with limited exceptions.

Travelers will be required to be vaccinated and show proof of vaccination to airlines before boarding. Proof of vaccination must match the traveler’s information (name and date of birth), be issued by an official source within the country it was given, and the vaccination must be approved or authorized by the FDA or included on the WHO list of emergency use vaccines. The CDC will allow vaccination proof that must be presented to airlines to be either physical or digital. Individuals should check with the airline if a translation will be needed for vaccination proof that is in a language other than English.

The list of acceptable vaccinations are: Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Single Dose), Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covishield, BIBP/Sinopharm, and Sinovac. Individuals will be considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their last dose.

The Proclamation does not apply to United States citizens, lawful permanent residents, or those traveling on immigrant visas. The Proclamation has also provided vaccination exceptions for the following:

  • Children under the age of 18.
  • Clinical Trial participates for COVID-19 vaccination. Documentation of clinical trial participation is required.
  • Individuals who are medically contraindicated to COVID-19 vaccination. A letter must be provided to the airline from a licensed physician documenting the contraindication before boarding. If the letter is not in English may require translation.
  • Individuals granted Humanitarian and Emergency Exceptions by the Director of the CDC that need to travel to the U.S. for their health and safety and are unable to complete obtain the vaccine. These individuals should contact the U.S. embassy or consular post nearest to their country providing information about the request.
  • Limited Vaccine Availability: Citizens of a country with less than 10% of the population vaccinated with any available COVID-19 vaccine, who seek to enter the United States pursuant to a nonimmigrant visa, except for a B-1/B-2 visa. A passport/proof of citizenship AND a valid nonimmigrant visa that is not a B-1/B-2 visa will need to be shown.
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children: These individuals will need to show U.S. military identification or other proof that the individual is a member or spouse/child of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • National Interest Exceptions as determined by the Secretaries of State, Transportation, Homeland Security or their designees. These individuals will need to show an official U.S. government letter documenting approval of the exception. It is unclear if the current process for obtaining an NIE will continue.
  • Diplomats or Persons on Official Government Travel seeking entry pursuant to the following visa classifications: A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of an official), E-1 (as an employee of TECRO or TECO or the employee’s immediate family members), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6 (or seeking to enter as a nonimmigrant in one of those NATO classifications). These individuals will need to travel with an official letter, such as a letter from the U.S or foreign government.
  • United Nations Travel individuals whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the UN Headquarters Agreement or who is traveling pursuant to United States legal obligation. If they have been invited to the United Nations, they will need a letter documenting the purpose for their travel.
  • Sea Crew Members seeking entry traveling pursuant to C-1 and D visas. They must provide an official letter (paper or digital) from their employer indicating that their entry to the United States is required for the purpose of operating a vessel that will depart from a U.S. seaport.
  • Airline Crew Members. They must provide an official letter (paper or digital) from their employer.

Individuals may have to attest to their exception. There are no exceptions for religious reasons or moral convictions. People with exceptions will be subject to stricter testing requirements and may need to be vaccinated within 60 days or arriving to the United States (with limited exceptions).

The CDC also issued a new contact tracing order that will require travelers to present full name, phone number, email, and address where they can be reached in the United States to airlines to provide to the CDC upon request.

On October 29, 2021, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a change to Title 19 restrictions for travel via land Port of Entries (POEs) and ferry terminals that took effect on November 8, 2021. Non-citizen travelers will be able to travel to the United States via POEs and ferry terminals if they are vaccinated and can provide proof of vaccination. Children under the age of 18, U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and those traveling for essential reasons (such as attending medical treatment or emergency reasons) will be exempt from this requirement and be allowed to travel to the United States without vaccination until January 2022