U.S. Travel Restrictions Eased For International Travelers

Many international travelers can visit the United States for the first time since the early months of 2020. Here are the latest guidelines for entering the United States from another country.

The United States Entry Ban Expires

From the early days of the pandemic until November 8, 2021, the United States issued country-based travel bans. For example, non-U.S. residents from Brazil, India and the European Union couldn’t come to the United States for non-essential travel. 

Instead, a universal set of entry guidelines is replacing this country-by-country approach. The Biden Administration’s international travel changes were announced on October 25, 2021.

Must Be Fully Vaccinated

The CDC requires non-U.S. citizens at least 18 years old to be fully vaccinated with a World Health Organization-approved vaccine. They must wait to travel until at least 14 days after their final dose. 

Fully vaccinated travelers do not have to self-quarantine.

These vaccines can be from producers that do not offer doses in the United States. It’s also possible to “mix and match” your shots with different producers too.

The airline is responsible for verifying each passenger is vaccinated correctly. If the airline cannot verify the vaccine details, the traveler cannot board the plane and enter the United States.

Travelers can enter restriction-free if they are partially or unvaccinated. One example can be flying from a country where the vaccine is still hard to find. Travelers with an exemption may have to self-quarantine for seven days and get a viral test 3-5 days after arrival.

Must Have A Negative Pre-Travel Test

Any person two years or older must have a negative pre-arrival test to enter the United States. This guideline applies to returning Americans and non-citizens. Fully vaccinated travelers can receive their test no sooner than 72 hours before departure. 

Unvaccinated travelers will need to get a test within 24 hours before arrival.

While testing has been mandatory since early 2021, the testing window is narrower for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers. Instead of having three days to get a test, they only have one day.

It’s possible for travelers who have recently recovered from Covid-19 to waive the mandatory test. To do so, you must show proof of recovery and have a letter from a health or government professional certifying the person is safe to travel.

Mask Mandate On Commercial Travel

The mask mandate still applies for all passengers two years or older. Passengers must wear a face covering for any commercial transit arriving in, departing from or traveling within the US.

Re-Entry Guidelines For United States Citizens

The new re-entry requirements for United States citizens are relatively minimal, and most international travel restrictions are stricter.

For now, any U.S. citizen or permanent resident age two or older must have a negative pre-arrival test. The testing window is three days for fully vaccinated travelers and one day for the unvaccinated.

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated Americans can still return to the USA quarantine-free if they have a negative pre-arrival test.

United States Land Border Reopens

In addition to the first tourists from overseas flying to America again, the United States is reopening its land border with Mexico and Canada for non-essential travel.

However, Canadian and Mexican citizens 18 years or older must be fully vaccinated to drive into the United States for non-essential travel. Proof of vaccination still isn’t necessary for essential travel.

Beginning in January 2022, non-residents driving into the United States for essential travel must be fully vaccinated. 

Currently, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security doesn’t require international citizens crossing a land border to have a negative diagnostic test.

However, Canadian citizens must have a negative test result to return to Canada.


It’s exciting news that the United States is now open again for non-essential travel by air and land. Visitors that are at least 18 years old must be fully vaccinated. If arriving by air, children and adults must have a negative pre-arrival test, but testing isn’t required at land border crossings.

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