WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 (Reuters) – The White House announced on Friday that it would lift COVID-19-related travel restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign nationals starting Nov. 8, ending historic restrictions that prohibited a large part of the world to enter the United States.
Announcing the start date for the new rules on travel inside and outside the country, White House spokesman Kevin Munoz posted on Twitter that the policy “is guided by public health, strict and consistent “.
Unprecedented travel restrictions have barred millions of visitors to the United States from China, Canada, Mexico, India, Brazil, much of Europe and elsewhere; shrunk US tourism; and harm the economies of border communities. They have prevented many relatives and foreign workers from reuniting with their families.
The American allies had strongly pressured the Biden administration to lift the rules.
Restrictions on non-U.S. Citizens were first imposed on air travelers from China in January 2020 by then-President Donald Trump, then extended to dozens of other countries, without any clear action to know how and when to lift them.
Restrictions on non-essential travelers at the land borders with Mexico and Canada have been in place since March 2020 to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reuters first announced the November 8 start date earlier today on Friday.
US shares of airlines, hospitality and cruise lines rose on the news, including American Airlines (AAL.O), up 2%; Marriott International Inc (MAR.O), up 3.7%; and Carnival Corp (CCL.N), up 1.6%.
U.S. international passenger air traffic fell 43% in August and overall passenger air traffic fell 21% from pre-pandemic levels, the U.S. Department of Transportation said on Friday.
Airlines have seen an increase in international ticket sales in recent weeks, Nick Calio, general manager of the Airlines for America industry trade group, said in a statement. Calio said that “the complete reopening of international travel is also essential to revive economies around the world, invigorate communities and support millions of jobs in the United States and abroad.”
The United States had fallen behind many other countries in lifting these restrictions.
The White House said on Tuesday it would lift restrictions on its land borders and on ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico for fully vaccinated foreign nationals in early November. They are similar but not identical to the requirements announced last month for international air travelers.
Unvaccinated visitors will still be prohibited from entering the United States from Canada or Mexico at land borders.
On August 9, Canada began allowing fully immunized U.S. visitors for non-essential travel.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told Reuters last week that the United States would accept the use by international visitors of COVID-19 vaccines authorized by US regulators or the World Health Organization.
The White House, which held a meeting Thursday night to finalize the Nov. 8 date, faces outstanding questions including how and what exemptions the Biden administration will grant from vaccine requirements. Children under 18, for example, should largely be exempt from the requirements, an official said.
US Travel Association chief executive Roger Dow said the decline in international tours since the start of the pandemic resulted in a loss of revenue of more than $ 250 billion.
Dow said in a statement that the Nov. 8 date “is of critical planning importance – for airlines, for travel-funded companies and for millions of travelers around the world who will now push their way forward. plans to visit the United States again “.
The White House announced on September 20 that the United States would lift restrictions on air travelers from 33 countries in early November. He did not specify the date at the time.
Starting November 8, the United States will admit fully vaccinated foreign air travelers from the 26 so-called Schengen countries in Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Greece, as well as than Great Britain, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil. Unprecedented US restrictions have banned non-US citizens who have been in those countries for the past 14 days.
The United States has allowed foreign air travelers from more than 150 countries throughout the pandemic, a policy that critics said made no sense because some countries with high infection rates were not on the list. the shortlist, while some on the list had the pandemic no longer under control.
The White House said last month it would apply vaccine requirements to foreign nationals traveling from all other countries.
Non-U.S. Air travelers will be required to show proof of vaccination before boarding a flight and will be required to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. Foreign visitors crossing a land border will not need to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test.
The new rules do not require foreign visitors or Americans entering the country to self-quarantine.
Americans traveling abroad must still show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test, and unvaccinated Americans will face more stringent testing requirements. They will also be subject to restrictions in the countries they plan to visit, which may include quarantines.
The CDC plans to publish new contact tracing rules for international air travelers soon.
Editing by Jonathan Oatis
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.