New COVID-19 Vaccination Rules for Flying to the US

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Deryck Jordan

Deryck is admitted as an Attorney at Law in New York and in Berlin.

As of today, rules regarding entry to the US from certain regions have changed.  Under the old rules, travel from certain regions (eg, Schengen area and Brazil) was severely restricted. Exceptions were made for certain categories of people (eg, immediate family members of US citizens, as well as individuals who qualified for a National Interest Exception).

Under the new rules, all noncitizens who fly to the US with nonimmigrant status must fulfill the same requirements, regardless of the country from which they are flying.  A National Interest Exception is no longer required.  More specifically, effective November 8, 2021, at 12:01 am (Eastern time), those travelers to the US must be fully vaccinated, unless they fall under one of the following exceptions:

  • Child under 18 years of age
  • Medical contraindication to an accepted COVID-19 vaccine
  • Member of US Armed Forces, or that member’s spouse or minor child
  • Certain diplomatic and official foreign government travel
  • Citizens of a foreign country that has limited COVID-19 vaccine availability who are traveling with a valid US nonimmigrant visa (excluding B-1, B-2 or B-1/B-2 visas)
  • Crew members of certain airlines
  • Sea crew members traveling pursuant to a C-1 or D nonimmigrant visa
  • Participant in certain COVID-19 vaccine trials
  • Person whose entry to the US is in the national interest
  • Persons who have an official US government letter that documents a humanitarian or emergency exception

Additionally, before boarding a flight to the US from any foreign country, all air passengers (age 2 years or older) are required to present a negative COVID-19 viral test result or present documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days.

To fulfill the above criteria, the accepted vaccines will include FDA approved or authorized and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines.

To learn about the most recent entry requirements to the US, contact our lawyers.

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