The Biden administration will lift COVID-19 travel restrictions starting in November for fully vaccinated international travelers, the White House announced on Monday.
Foreign travelers will need to show proof of their vaccination status and a negative COVID test within three days of departure to the United States, said Jeff Zients, the White House pandemic coordinator.
“International travel is critical to connecting families and friends, to fueling small and large businesses, to promoting the open exchange of ideas and culture,” said Zients during a press briefing. “That’s why, with science and public health as our guide, we have developed a new international air travel system that both enhances the safety of Americans here at home and enhances the safety of international air travel.”
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The Biden administration also tightened requirements for unvaccinated Americans traveling back to the United States. They will need to test negative for COVID one day before returning home and test again once back.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will also require airlines to collect phone numbers and email addresses from U.S.-bound travelers for contract tracing.
The E.U. and Britain already eased travel restrictions on U.S. travelers earlier in the summer, but the Biden administration did not reciprocate.
The lifting of restrictions will allow thousands of people to reunite with family in the United States after months of separation during the pandemic.
U.S. airlines and other industry groups had urged the Biden administration for months to lift the travel bans, which were put in place by former President Donald Trump in March 2020.
“Science tells us that vaccinations coupled with testing is the safest way to re-open travel, and we are optimistic this important decision will allow for the continued economic recovery both in the U.S. and abroad and the reunification of families who have been separated for more than 18 months,” Delta Air Lines spokesman Morgan Durrant said in a statement.
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