Government lifts current regional travel restrictions and imposes compulsory Covid-19 vaccination on all international air passengers | Miles and Stockbridge PC



The Biden administration said it would lift the pandemic-related regional travel restrictions on foreign nationals in early November. The current restrictions will be replaced with a Covid-19 vaccination requirement for all foreign nationals traveling to the United States by air. The requirement that all travelers boarding international flights to the United States must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test will remain in place.

Current travel restrictions

The Trump and Biden administrations have issued a series of presidential proclamations since early 2020 imposing and revising travel restrictions on certain foreign nationals due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We have discussed these restrictions in previous articles on immigrant visa holders, nonimmigrant visa holders, and geographic entry bans. Under the most recent and currently applicable iteration of travel restrictions, certain foreign nationals who have been physically present in China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen area, UK, in Ireland and India in the last 14 days are prohibited upon entry into the United States. The restrictions do not apply to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, diplomats, and spouses or children of U.S. citizens.

Foreign nationals subject to these restrictions need a National Interest Exception (NIE) to travel directly to the United States. Obtaining approval for an NIE usually requires a formal application to a United States Embassy or Consulate overseas or a Customs and Border Protection port of entry. (CBP). The NIE arbitration has been frustratingly inconsistent between consular offices and CBP posts, both in substance and in terms of the timing of a decision, which can range from days to months.

New vaccination requirements

Current geographic entry bans are expected to be replaced in November with a vaccination requirement for all foreign nationals traveling to the United States by air. Foreign nationals must provide proof of full vaccination against Covid-19 before boarding. Individuals will be considered fully vaccinated if they have received all of the required doses of vaccines approved for use in the United States or listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization.

All international air travelers to the United States aged two years or older, including U.S. citizens, will still need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test performed within three days of boarding.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services also announced that effective October 1, 2021, applicants for an Immigrant and Adjustment of Status (“Green Card”) visa must be fully vaccinated against Covid- 19. Civilian surgeons will verify vaccination status on the required Medical Examination and Vaccination Report (Form I-693) that applicants must obtain and submit in these cases. Waivers of the vaccination requirement may be available for applicants of certain ages or medical conditions, or for applicants from areas where vaccinations are not routinely available. Individual waivers for religious or moral beliefs will also be available, although it remains to be seen how these waiver requests will be handled.

The opinions and conclusions in this article are solely those of the author, unless otherwise stated. The information contained in this blog is of a general nature and is not offered and can not be considered as legal advice for any particular situation. The author has provided the links mentioned above for informational purposes only and, in doing so, does not adopt or integrate the content. Any federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written by the author for use, and may not be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the recipient by the recipient. IRS. Please contact the author if you would like to receive written advice in a format that complies with IRS rules and can be relied on to avoid penalties.

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