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Rules Change for Travelers to the US

A European travel ban is being lifted, but visitors will have to be vaccinated.

By:  |  September 27, 2021  |    580 Words
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(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The government recently said it is going to change the rules about who can travel into the United States. According to the new rules, travelers from Europe will only be able to enter the U.S. if they have been vaccinated and tested against COVID-19.

A European Travel Ban

Since early 2020, foreign visitors to the United States have been limited. At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump created a rule banning people from coming into the U.S. from many European countries, as well as others. The goal was to prevent the virus from spreading and stop people bringing it into America. At the end of his time as president, Trump started lifting these restrictions – but President Joe Biden kept the ban in place once he took over.

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Ursula von der Leyen and Joe Biden (Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

After 18 months, many had started to question the ban. Most European countries allow American visitors, and many don’t require any quarantine or vaccine. American citizens and Green Card holders are also allowed to travel to Europe and back home to the U.S. under the rules.

The situation was starting to annoy European leaders, who felt the U.S. was not treating them fairly. Other people said they were being separated from American family members.

In August, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for the U.S. to lift the travel ban for European citizens. Another official called the continuing ban a “huge disappointment.” Earlier in September, a top-ranking official canceled a trip to the U.S. in protest. The European Commission vice president, Margaritis Schinas, said:

“I cancelled my planned trip to the USA next week because I do not find the lack of reciprocity on travel rules fair. Nor does it make sense — Europe is the most vaccinated continent in the world.”

Changing the Rules

 Now, it looks like European travelers will be allowed to travel to the U.S. again – but there will be some requirements. Before getting on a plane headed for the United States, travelers will have to prove they are vaccinated and tested for the virus.

White House COVID-19 response coordinator, Jeff Zients, said:

“Beginning in early November, foreign nationals flying to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated – fully vaccinated and they must show proof of vaccination prior to boarding a US-bound airplane.”

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the decision, saying, “It’s a fantastic boost for business and trade, and great that family and friends on both sides of the pond [the Atlantic Ocean] can be reunited once again.”

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(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is expected to order airlines to collect contact details from travelers, such as phone numbers and email addresses. According to Zients, “This will enable the CDC and state and local public health officials to follow up with inbound travelers and those around them if someone has potentially been exposed to Covid-19.”

The rules don’t apply to children who may be too young to get vaccinated. The land borders with Canada and Mexico are not covered in the rules, either.

Restrictions are also changing for other countries, including China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, and India. The change is expected to begin in November.

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