Biden’s administration will lift restrictions on fully vaccinated international travelers in November.
The Biden administration will lift travel restrictions from November on foreigners fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, end a travel ban introduced to limit the spread of disease, and reopen the United States for relatives separated from families and corporate employees.
Foreign travelers who prove they are fully vaccinated before boarding a flight can fly to the United States from “early November,” Jeff Zients, the White House pandemic coordinator, said Monday.
“Traveling internationally is critical to connecting families and friends, fueling businesses small and large, and promoting open exchange ideas and culture,” said Mr. Zients. “That’s why, with science and public health as our guide, we’ve developed a new international air travel system that improves both the safety of Americans here at home and the safety of international air travel.”
The government has restricted travel for foreigners who want to fly to the United States from a group of European countries, Iran and China, for more than a year. Fully vaccinated travelers must also be able to show evidence of a negative test for the coronavirus within three days of coming to the United States, Mr Zients said.
Unvaccinated Americans abroad who want to travel home will have to pass stricter testing requirements. They will have to test negative for the coronavirus a day before traveling to the United States and will have to be retested after arrival, Mr Zients said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also soon issue an order instructing airlines to collect traveler phone numbers and email addresses for a new contact tracing system. Authorities will then contact travelers after arrival to ask if they have any symptoms of the virus.
The government’s move came on the eve of a visit by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was expected to pressure Mr Biden to lift the ban. British officials had hoped the president would announce an easing of restrictions when he came to Cornwall, England, in June for the Group of 7 summit, and were disappointed when he didn’t. Their frustration has only grown ever since.
British officials note that the United States had not imposed a similar ban on people from Caribbean countries, which had a higher infection rate than Britain, or from Argentina, where a lower percentage of the population had been vaccinated. About 82 percent of people in Britain over the age of 16 have had two injections.
The European Union and Britain both allowed fully vaccinated people to travel from the United States without going into quarantine, and officials there were annoyed when the United States did not answer.
The ban, European officials point out, has kept families segregated since March 2020, when former President Donald J. Trump first announced it amid the coronavirus outbreak across Europe. European countries have endured a third wave of infections, propelled by the Delta variant. But in several countries, including Britain, infection rates are beginning to level off and even decline.
Stephen Castle contributed from London.