Immigration Lawyer Andy Gene Strickland discusses current COVID-19 travel to the U.S.
Read more about the current situation with seemingly ever-changing immigration issues resulting from COVID-19 and its mutations.
On October 25, 2021, President Biden issued a proclamation ending travel bans that restricted the entry of nonimmigrants present in China, Brazil, India, Iran, South Africa, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the Schengen Area.
The proclamation also created a new rule, effective November 8, 2021, that requires all adult nonimmigrant travelers entering the United States via air travel to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with limited exceptions.
However, with a new variant of this virus (Omicron) appearing the President reinstated the South African travel ban as well as a ban from other African countries.
Similarly, non-essential travel for fully vaccinated individuals across land and ferry borders will be permitted as of November 8. Essential travel for unvaccinated individuals across land and ferry borders will be allowed until January 21, 2022, at which time the vaccine requirement will be imposed for all travelers.
What Does Fully Vaccinated Mean?
You must have received a vaccine approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) or World Health Organization (WHO), which currently includes the following vaccines: Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (SingleDose), Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covishield, BIBP/Sinopharm, and Sinovac. You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last dose of a multi-dose, or the first dose of a single dose, approved vaccine. Receipt of doses from any two different approved vaccines is acceptable.
What Proof Is Required?
Before boarding a flight to the United States, adult nonimmigrant travelers must provide proof of vaccination via verifiable digital or paper records: This includes, but is not limited to, vaccination certificates or digital passes accessible via QR code (such as the UK NHS COVID Pass and the European Union Digital COVID Certificate).
Non-verifiable paper records: A paper vaccination record or a COVID-19vaccination certificate issued by a national or subnational level agency or by an authorized vaccine provide (such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination card).
Non verifiable digital records: Digital photos of vaccination card or record, or a down loaded record or vaccination certificate from an official source(e.g.,public health agency, government agency, or other authorized vaccine provider),or a record shown on a mobile phone app without a QR code.
Airlines will verify that the form of proof includes a name and date of birth that matches other identification documents, is from an official source with in the country the vaccine was issued, and shows full vaccination. You must confirm with the airline if translation is required for documents not in English.
For land border and ferry crossings, CBP will require similar proof of vaccination and that the traveler attest to their reason for travel.
Immigration lawyer Andy Gene Strickland suggests you review the current U.S. policy in effect shortly before time of travel to the United States as this information changes often.