The United States will allow vaccinated travelers to enter the U.S. with a negative COVID-19 test result prior to travel from early November. This replaces the restrictions which prevented anyone from entering the U.S. if they had been in 33 specific countries including the U.K., Ireland, all Schengen countries, Brazil, South Africa, India, and China within the last 14 days.
Under the new rules, international arrivals will need to demonstrate proof of vaccination before flying, obtain a negative Covid-19 test result within three days of traveling, and provide their contact information. They will not be required to quarantine.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) immediately welcomed the decision. “Allowing access to the U.S. for those vaccinated will open travel to the U.S. for many who have been locked out for the past 18 months,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. “This announcement marks a key shift in managing the risks of COVID-19 from blanket considerations at the national level to assessment of individual risk. The next challenge is finding a system to manage the risks for travelers who do not have access to vaccinations. Data points to testing as a solution. But it is also critical that governments accelerate the global rollout of vaccines and agree a global framework for travel where testing resources are focused on unvaccinated travelers.”
The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) also supports the easing of restrictions this November. “ALPA supports opening the country’s doors to international travelers with the implementation of the government’s new requirements for international travel, which will help ensure the safety and health of flight crews, passengers, and the public, and protect the aviation industry’s path to economic recovery,” the association said in a statement.
There is however currently a question mark over which vaccines the U.S. will accept. The AstraZeneca vaccine for example, which is the most common in the U.K., has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in the U.S. Other areas that need clarification are rules for children and young adults, and those who cannot have the vaccine on medical grounds.