The Biden administration is working on developing a plan that will hopefully help re-open the international borders to travelers. That plan is said to will require all incoming international travels be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The plan will require virtually all foreign visitors to show proof of vaccination in order to be allowed to enter the US, according to a White House official’s statement to Reuters. Several other countries including the United Kingdom and Thailand have implemented such mandates already, and the U.S. hopes to mirror this in order to restart international tourism.
According to the White House representative, the administration is hoping “to have a new system ready for when we can reopen travel,” with “a phased approach that over time will mean, with limited exceptions, that foreign nationals traveling to the United States (from all countries) need to be fully vaccinated.”
As of now, the United States has restricted non-essential travel for non-U.S. citizens for many countries around the world, including the entire European Union and the United Kingdom. There is also a land border closure in place with Mexico and Canada until August 21st, 2021, which may very well be extended once again.
Travelers that do enter the United States now are required to get a COVID test up to 72 hours before boarding their flight, whether they are vaccinated or not. The only exception to this rule are U.S. territories like Guam and Puerto Rico.
The Biden administration has also shared that as of now, there are no plans for lifting international restrictions due to the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State Department have added the United Kingdom, Greece, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to the list of destinations that they are warning against traveling to due to the high COVID risk in those countries.
As of now, the administration is still considering what the best approach would be for having a vaccine mandate for international travelers. According to Reuters, they need to come up with a plan for what kind of proof of vaccinated will be accepted. Another consideration will be whether to accept travelers who are vaccinated with a vaccine that has not been approved by the United States.
New York City has recently announced that anyone wishing to visit indoor venues such as restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues will be required to show proof of vaccination.
The vaccine’s full approval from the FDA will likely bring in many more rounds of vaccine mandates around the U.S. and the world.