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US reopens land, air borders to fully vaccinated foreign visitors

Washington [US] : After 20 months of travel restrictions, the US is reopening its land and air borders to foreign visitors fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from Monday. At the moment, vaccine list includes the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, Covaxin, Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines.

The United States is flinging its doors wide open to vaccinated international travelers on Monday, welcoming many visitors who’ve been shut out of the country for 20 months, reported CNN. The United States is largely wide open, although there are some state and local restrictions that still apply.

For example, there are mask mandates in Hawaii, Illinois, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Washington, DC and Puerto Rico also require masks in indoor public spaces.

In some cities, including New York and San Francisco, there are vaccine requirements for indoor public spaces including restaurants, reported CNN.

Hawaii, which had some of the strictest entry requirements in the US, will now align with the new federal rules for international air travel. Although capacity restrictions in the state are easing, there are still some limits in place.

Getting vaccinated is the key requirement for the vast majority of international travellers hoping to enter the United States. Children under 18 are exempt from the vaccination requirement. The CDC has the full slate of air travel requirements on its website.

Travelers must meet CDC criteria for being “fully vaccinated.” Paper and digital documentation are acceptable. Airlines are responsible for gathering and verifying this information from air travelers.

Air travelers also need a negative COVID-19 test. Testing is required of all fully vaccinated air travelers of age 2 and above, regardless of nationality. Passengers are required to test negative for COVID-19 within three days of their flight’s departure for the United States.

Non-vaccinated Americans and a very limited number of non-vaccinated international travelers exempted from the vaccination requirement must test within one day of departing for the US. Many airlines have mobile apps and portals on their websites where vaccination and testing information can be processed digitally.

Customs and Border Protection anticipates an increase in travel volumes and wait times at land and ferry crossings and is encouraging travellers to have their identification and vaccination documents ready. The agency also encourages travellers to use its CBP One app.

Digital and paper documentation is acceptable for proof of vaccination, and vaccine cards do not need to be in English. Travellers should be prepared to attest to their vaccination status and reason for travel. They should also be prepared to show proof of being fully vaccinated if requested by a CBP officer.