What you need to know about the new US international air travel rules 

  • November 8, 2021
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The Biden administration’s new rules requiring most foreign nationals to be vaccinated before flying to the United States take effect at 12:01 a.m. EST (0501 GMT) Nov. 8.  

Here’s what you need to know:  

  • Starting Nov. 8, foreign air travelers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to fly to the United States, with limited exceptions.  
  • Passengers will need to show an “official source” showing vaccination status, and airlines will need to match the name and date of birth to confirm the passenger is the same person reflected on the proof of vaccination.  
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said it will accept US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved or authorized and World Health Organization (WHO) emergency use listed vaccines.  
  • All travelers must produce a negative viral test result within three days prior to travel to the United States. Unvaccinated US citizens and others getting exemptions must provide a negative test taken within one day before traveling.  
  • Children under 18 are excepted from the vaccination requirement but children between the ages of 2 and 17 are required to take a pre-departure test. Unvaccinated foreign nationals under 18 will not have to self-quarantine upon arrival. 
  • If traveling with a fully vaccinated adult, an unvaccinated child can test three days prior to departure, but if an unvaccinated child is traveling alone or with unvaccinated adults, they will have to test within one day before departure.  
  • Exemptions include certain COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants, those with valid medical reasons for not getting vaccinated and those who need to travel for emergency or humanitarian reasons, but they will need a US government-issued letter affirming the urgent need to travel.  
  • The CDC said there are no exceptions for the vaccine requirements “for religious reasons or other moral convictions.”  
  • Non-tourist travelers from nearly 50 countries with nationwide vaccination rates of less than 10% will be exempt from the requirements but must agree within 60 days to get vaccinated under most conditions.  
  • Travelers must sign an attestation that they have been vaccinated and are warned that “willfully providing false or misleading information may lead to criminal fines and imprisonment.”  
  • The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) plans to issue a security directive that provides the legal basis for airlines to check vaccine records.  
  • The CDC also issued a Contact Tracing Order that requires all airlines flying into the United States to collect and keep on hand for 30 days and disclose to the CDC if needed contact information including phone numbers, email and US addresses that will allow health officials to track infections. The collection requirements take effect Nov. 8.  
  • The CDC released a travel assessment tool on Monday for people planning international trips, including an extensive question and answer for travelers. — Reuters