WASHINGTON (AP) – The Biden administration is rolling out new international travel policies affecting Americans and non-citizens who wish to travel to the United States. The goal is to restore more normal air travel after 18 months of disruption caused by COVID-19.
The general rules, which come into effect in November, will replace a mishmash of confusing restrictions. Some details of the plan announced on Monday are being worked out, but here are some questions and answers on what to expect:
WHAT IS THE NEW POLICY IN BRIEF?
All adult foreign nationals traveling to the United States will need to be fully immunized before boarding their flight. This is in addition to the current requirement that travelers must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure to the United States.
Once the vaccination requirement is in place, the White House relaxes all country-specific restrictions on international travel that have barred non-nationals who have stayed in the UK, EU, China, India , in Iran, Republic of Ireland, Brazil or South Africa within 14 days of entering the United States
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT AMERICANS?
Fully vaccinated Americans will only have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of leaving for the United States
WHAT ABOUT UNVACCINATED AMERICANS?
U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are not fully vaccinated will still be able to travel to the United States, but they will see more stringent testing and contact tracing protocols. They will need to be tested within 24 hours of boarding a flight to the United States, as well as being tested upon their return to the country. It remains to be seen, however, how the federal government will enforce the return testing requirement.
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT CHILDREN?
The new US policy only requires adult foreign nationals to be fully vaccinated to enter the United States.
WHAT VACCINES ARE ACCEPTABLE?
CDC Says United States Will Accept Full Travel Vaccination With Any COVID-19 Vaccine Approved For Emergency Use By The World Health Organization, Including Those From Pfizer, Moderna And Johnson & Johnson Used In States -United. Other vaccines are also approved by the WHO and widely used around the world, including from AstraZeneca and Chinese Sinovac, with varying degrees of effectiveness against COVID-19 and its more transmissible delta variant. WHO is reviewing Russian vaccine Sputnik V but has not approved it.
HOW WILL THIS AFFECT AIR RATES?
Adit Damodaran, economist for travel research firm Hopper, predicted that rising demand would likely lead to higher airfares on flights from Europe, although the rush to book flights may be slowed by the variant. delta and the high rates of COVID-19 in the United States. increase in prices, this would mark a reversal in prices since the start of the pandemic.
DO AIRLINES COLLECT DATA ON PASSENGERS?
The CDC will require airlines to collect passenger information and provide it to the health agency if it is to conduct contact tracing. Airlines had resisted a similar change last year, when it was proposed by the CDC and ultimately blocked by the Trump administration.
WHAT ABOUT TRAVEL BEYOND LAND BORDERS?
The administration’s restrictions on crossing the land borders from Mexico and Canada to the United States are to remain unchanged for the time being. This means that in some cases, fully vaccinated people from the two American neighbors will soon be able to fly to the United States, but may not be able to make the same trip by car.
HOW WILL THIS AFFECT THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY?
Analysts and industry officials believe this will help. The United States Chamber of Commerce has said lifting current restrictions on international travelers will help sustain a recovery in the US economy. Prior to Monday, the United States was set to lose $ 175 billion in export revenue from international visitors this year, according to the US Travel Association.
HOW HAVE CURRENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECTED INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL?
They made it easier for Americans to visit Europe than the other way around. International travel to the United States in August was down 54% from two years ago, and arrivals of non-U.S. Citizens were down 74%, according to Airlines for America.
HOW DO THE CHANGES AFFECT BUSINESS TRAVEL?
There is pent-up demand among business travelers from Europe. Foreign executives who have been vaccinated will no longer have to prove that their trip to the United States serves the American “national interest” – a process that takes time.
Koenig reported from Dallas. Associated Press writer Mike Stobbe in New York contributed to this report.