White House Covid-19 co-ordinator Jeff Zients announced new rules on Monday: from November, foreign travelers including those from the U.K. and EU will be allowed to fly into the US if they are fully vaccinated, and undergo testing and contact tracing. “They must show proof of vaccination prior to boarding a U.S.-bound airplane,” Zients said. The Biden administration is also tightening rules for unvaccinated U.S. citizens returning home. They will need to test one day before departure and test again after returning.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also require airlines to collect and provide passenger information to aid contract tracing. Families and friends separated by the restrictions can be reunited. The current rules bar entry to most non-US citizens who have been in the UK and a number of other European countries, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil within the last 14 days. Officials said there would be some exceptions to the new policy, including for children who are not eligible to be vaccinated. The new rules do not apply to land borders, meaning that restrictions continue to apply to cross-border travel with Canada and Mexico. The change was internationally welcomed. The UK and Germany were the first countries to respond. Following the announcement, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “delighted”. The airlines cheered the Biden administration’s decision.