Biden easing foreign travel restrictions, requiring vaccines

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The White House says President Joe Biden will ease foreign travel restrictions into the U.S. beginning in November and allow foreign nationals into the country if they have proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test

The new rules replace a hodgepodge of restrictions that had barred non-citizens who had been in certain countries in the prior 14 days from entering the U.S. It would allow families and others who have been separated by the travel restrictions for 18 months to plan for long-awaited reunifications.

White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients announced the new policies, which will require all foreign travelers flying to the U.S. to demonstrate proof of vaccination before boarding, as well as proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of flight. Biden will also tighten testing rules for unvaccinated American citizens, who will need to be tested within a day before returning to the U.S., as well as after they arrive home.

Fully vaccinated passengers will not be required to quarantine, Zients said.

Those travel bans had become the source of growing geopolitical frustration, particularly among allies in the UK and EU where virus cases are far lower than the U.S., and the easing comes ahead of Biden meeting with some European leaders on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly this week.

“This is based on individuals rather than a country based approach, so it’s a stronger system,” Zients said.

The new policy will take effect in “early November,” Zients said, to allow airlines and travel partners time to prepare to implement the new protocols.

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