TRAVEL NEWS – October 17, 2021: The United States is about to make it easier for vaccinated international travelers to visit the country. A new system will go into effect on November 8 that will allow fully vaccinated tourists from select countries to re-enter the United States. Dutch and Belgians are welcome back in the country from 8 November.
Table of contents
- The US will launch a new travel system on November 8.
- Vaccinated travelers must be able to show proof of full vaccination and a recent test for COVID-19.
- There is a mouth cap obligation at airports and on planes
- There is no quarantine obligation
News from the white house
The White House has Friday night announced that a new air travel system will come into effect on Nov. 8, granting access to fully vaccinated foreign tourists. The system is being launched more than 20 months after the US began imposing travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The White House move will essentially cause the US to drop its travel ban on dozens of countries, while also making it more difficult for unvaccinated people to enter. The new system will only allow entry to foreigners with vaccinations approved by the World Health Organization and would add more testing requirements for unvaccinated Americans.
Here's what we know so far about the new entry requirements.
What are the admission requirements as of November 8?
As of November 8, vaccinated foreign travelers must meet the following requirements to board an aircraft flying to the US:
- Show proof of complete vaccination.
- A negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before the arrival of the trip.
- Wearing a mouth cap
Collecting Personal Information
Airlines are also required to collect personal information, including a phone number and email address, from all travelers to the US for contact tracing purposes.
The airlines are required to keep the information on hand for 30 days so that health officials can contact travelers who may have been exposed to COVID-19.
Which countries are welcome in the US again?
The change makes it possible to enter the US from November 8 for travelers from the following countries:
- United Kingdom
- South Africa
- The European Schengen Area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City)
Mouth caps, no quarantine
Masks will be compulsory during the entire flight and at the airports. Fortunately, there is no quarantine obligation, so you can travel freely in the country immediately after arrival.
What about the land borders with Mexico and Canada?
New travel rules will also come into effect for travelers arriving by land or boat.
From November 8, fully vaccinated travelers will be able to cross national borders for non-essential reasons, such as tourism or visiting friends and family. Rules of entry along the border are set to change again in early January, requiring all travelers – including those traveling for essential purposes – to show proof of full vaccination. This is not yet the case.
Foreign travelers can show the vaccination status on paper or digitally. US Customs will check travelers' vaccination documents on site.
In addition to the covid-19 vaccinations, foreigners also need the correct travel documentation to enter the country, such as a valid passport and an approved visa (the ESTA).
What Vaccines Does the US Accept for Travel?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced that the following WHO-approved vaccines will be accepted for air travel. White House officials expect the CDC to approve the same vaccines for travelers entering the US by land or sea.
- Johnson and Johnson
- Pfizer BioNTech
- A nephew
The CDC confirmed Friday that it would accept a mix-and-match approach to vaccinations. Travelers who have a combination of FDA or WHO-approved vaccines are considered fully vaccinated.
Uncertainty about recovery from COVID-19
However, what is still unclear is whether proof of recovery from COVID-19 can be used instead of proof of vaccination. Many Dutch people have only received one vaccination because they have recovered from Covid-19. In the Netherlands, this is considered to be fully vaccinated, but there is still a lot of uncertainty about this in other countries, including in the US.
What about the kids?
Children will be exempt from vaccine requirements, a White House official said. Currently, all airline passengers 2 years or older, including US citizens and permanent residents, must show a negative coronavirus test to fly to the US. It is currently unclear what the exempt age of children as of November 8 will be.
As soon as more is known about this, we will update the article.
What about transferring in the US?
Travelers who fly to another country via the United States will also need to be able to show a valid vaccination certificate + PCR test no older than 72 hours. Travelers who transfer also have to go through immigration in the US and both proofs are checked before you board the plane to the US.
Is the CoronaCheck app valid in the US?
The corona-check app can generate an international QR code, with which you can currently prove throughout Europe that you have been vaccinated and/or tested. Read exactly how you do that in the article below:
However, the app is officially not (yet) usable in the US. However, the EU is in consultation with the US to also accept the applications that are used in Europe in the US.
Until then, you can use the CoronaCheck app to create PDF versions of your vaccination and/or PCR test evidence. Print it out or save it on your phone. Just to be sure, always take your yellow booklet with you (if you have one) with any stamps / prints of your vaccinations.
Official US Travel Resources
We advise everyone to always consult the official sources in the Netherlands and the US before departure. View the Dutch travel advice for the United States here on netherlandsworldwide.nl.
It is good to know that the website of the Dutch ministry sometimes lags behind the reports in the news. For example, this news item has not yet been processed on the website of the Netherlands worldwide. This usually takes a few days, the website is not updated during the weekend anyway.
All official information for entering the United States can be found on the government website, cdc.gov. Click here to go directly to the correct page.