It’s official: the United States is dropping travel bans currently imposed on millions of potential visitors from around the world, from places like Europe, the UK and more.
When the big news was announced, however exciting it was at the time, it was also incomplete. Big questions remained about when, but also about which vaccines would count toward the new requirement that all visitors must be “fully vaccinated”.
Considering much of Europe, India and other places subjected to bans used vaccines which were not administered in the United States, skeptics feared the worst. That’s now been clarified, and it’s mostly good news.
Vaccines Approved For US Visitors
As was expected, all vaccines used in the United States and approved by the FDA are recognized for entry into the United States. Crucially, so too are all vaccines recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).
For the purpose of travel and tourism, visitors hoping to enter the United States from its reopening date in November 2021 will be considered fully vaccinated 14 days after the final dose of:
- AstraZeneca (including CoviShield)
- Johnson & Johnson (Janssen)
And yes, you must be fully vaccinated to enter the US as a visitor. Only US citizens and permanent residents can enter as unvaccinated.
While this is fantastic news for many, including Brits who worried AstraZeneca could be excluded, many millions more who received other vaccines will continue to be left out, at least for now.
Mixing Is OK And Exemptions
There’s now clear guidance that the mixing of approved vaccines will be allowed for travel entry, which is a process regularly done in many countries, including Canada.
As long as they are approved vaccines and a full regimen has been completed, mixed vaccines will be just fine, according to the latest official briefing.
Additionally, children under 18 are exempt from the vaccination requirement. Children aged 2 to 17 must still submit a negative covid-19 test (antigen or PCR) within 3 days of travel, as must all adults, whether they are citizens or not.
A specific November date from which bans will be “lifted” has also been specified, and visitors are eligible from November 8th onward. The date was the subject of long and intense debate, leading to many a Twitter poll, such as the one above.
Vaccines Used By Millions Are Being Excluded
According to View From The Wing, Sputnik – the Russian developed vaccine, which has been used globally in more than 70 countries won’t be counted. The same applies for the “other” vaccine used in India, Covaxin, which also won’t be initially recognized by US authorities.
Mexico recently ordered a 24 million dose supply of Sputnik, and European countries including Hungary and Slovakia are said to have used the vaccines, at varying levels.
It won’t be recognized for the time being, and therefore anyone vaccinated with that vaccine (only) won’t be admitted to the United States as a visitor. Citizens, Permanent residents and others on specific visas may still be able to enter, with appropriate tests.
In theory, someone could obtain another vaccine, which would change their eligibility, but for those who wouldn’t find that immediately easy, the end of the “travel bans” in the United States is more of an idea than a reality — for now.