Effective 3 December 2021, all international travelers to the United States, regardless of their vaccination status, are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test issued no more than 1 calendar day prior to departure for the United States.

On 8 November 2021, the U.S. Government announced new protocols for foreign nationals attempting to enter the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. All foreign nationals are required to provide

In very limited cases, foreign nationals who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may be eligible to enter the United States. Depending on the exception, travelers may have to adhere to additional requirements, including:

  • Proof of a negative COVID-19 test issued no more than 1 calendar day prior to departure, or proof of recovery from COVID-19
  • Receive a COVID-19 viral test 3-5 days after arrival in the United States
  • Self-quarantine for 7 days, even f the test result to the post-arrival test is negative
  • Self-isolate if the result of the post arrival test is positive or if the traveler develops COVID-19 symptoms
  • Agree to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and arrange to become fully vaccinated within 60 days of arriving in the United States

Exception eligibility criteria can be found on the CDC’s dedicated webpage.

If you have additional questions regarding the new requirements for entry to the United States or exceptions, please reach out to [email protected] and [email protected].

Update on Omicron Related Travel Restrictions to the United States

On 29 November 2021, the White House implemented a Presidential Proclamation suspending the entry of non-exempt international travelers who have been physically present in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, or Zimbabwe within 14 days prior to entering the United States.

The U.S. Government has not announced any exemptions for individuals with F-1, J-1, M-1, or H-1B status. Travelers that fall into these categories may be required to obtain a National Interest Exemption (NIE) from their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate prior to attempting travel to the United States.

More information can be found on the US Department of State’s dedicated webpage.

With very limited exceptions, travelers to the United States are still required to submit proof of vaccination, proof of a negative test issued no more than three (3) calendar days prior to departure, and a signed CDC attestation form.

For more information, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions on New Requirements for Travel to the United States

New Canadian Border Measures in Response to the Emergence of COVID-19 Variant of Concern Omicron

On 26 November 2021, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced increased border restrictions in response to the emergency of the COVID-19 Omicron variant of concern. All international travelers that have been present in the following countries within 14 days of traveling to Canada are subject to the new restrictions:

  • Botswana
  • Egypt
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Zimbabwe

International Travelers to Canada

Effective 27 November 2021, international travelers who have been in any of the countries listed above within the previous 14 days will not be permitted entry into Canada.

Canadian Citizens, Permanent Residents, and Travelers with Status under the Indian Act

Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and people with status under the Indian Act who have been in any of the countries listed above will be required to:

  • Obtain, within 72 hours of departure, a valid negative COVID-19 molecular test in a third country before continuing their journey to Canada,
  • Complete testing upon arrival to Canada, regardless of their vaccination status or having had a previous history of testing positive for COVID-19,
  • Required to complete a test on Day 8 after arrival and quarantine for 14 days.
  • Those arriving by air will be required to stay in a designated quarantine facility while they await their arrival test result. They will be permitted onward travel once they have received a negative arrival test result.
  • Those arriving by land may be allowed to proceed directly to their suitable quarantine location. If they do not have a suitable and robust quarantine plan—where they will not have contact with anyone with whom they haven’t travelled with—or do not have private transportation to their place of quarantine, they will be directed to stay at a designated quarantine facility.

For more information, please consult the Public Health Agency of Canada’s News Release

Biden Administration Rescinds Travel Bans and Releases Additional Details on New COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Requirements for International Air Travel

Effective November 08, 2021

On October 25, 2021, the Biden administration published a fact sheet  detailing the implementation of its new international air travel policy requiring international travelers to the United States to be fully vaccinated. This new policy will replace current Presidential Proclamations restricting travel from certain countries and areas. Beginning on November 8th, all nonimmigrant international travelers, with few exceptions, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination to fly to the United States.  All vaccinated persons attempting to enter the US must obtain a negative COVID-19 test within three calendar days prior to departure.  

Are F and J visa holders required to be fully vaccinated to enter the United States?

F and J visas are required to be fully vaccinatedF and J visa holders are exempt from the vaccine requirement only in these cases 

  • if they are from a country with a less than 10% vaccination rate or countries otherwise determined by the CDC as having limited vaccine availability (US CDC identifies countries that qualify for this exemption in Table 4 of the Technical Instruction),    
  • if they have medical contraindications, 
  • if they are traveling due to humanitarian/emergencies as defined by the CDC,  
  • if they participated in certain COVID-19 vaccine trials as determined by the CDC, or  
  • if their entry would be in the “national interest” as determined by the State Department, Transportation Department, and Department of Homeland Security.    

What do I need to know regarding COVID vaccination requirements?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers a person to be fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines; or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. The CDC states that this guidance applies to COVID-19 vaccines currently approved or authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson [J&J]/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines) and can be applied to COVID-19 vaccines that have been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (such as AstraZeneca/Oxford). The United States will not accept all COVID-19 vaccines. Please refer to the WHO for a list of approved COVID-19 vaccines prior to traveling to the United States. 

Who is exempt from the COVID vaccination/immunization requirements?

Only a limited number of international travelers to the United States will be exempt from the vaccination requirement, including children under 18, certain COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants, people with certain medical conditions, people traveling for emergency or humanitarian travel, and other very narrow categories.  

International travelers who receive a vaccine exemption to fly to the United States may be required to get vaccinated in the United States if they stay for more than 60 days or to make other public health attestations. 

In addition, the CDC will be issuing a Contact Tracing Order requiring all airlines flying to the United States to provide passenger contact information to the CDC in the event that passengers need to be notified about potential COVID-19 exposure on a flight to the United States 

Unvaccinated travelers, whether U.S. Citizens, lawful permanent residents, and certain nonimmigrant visa holders, who are exempt from the vaccination requirement, must take a COVID-19 test within one calendar day prior to departure. 

What do I need to consider when planning my travel to the United States?

Although travel from certain countries/regions will no longer be restricted, appointment backlogs at United States embassies and consulates continue to be an issue for international travelers who need visas. Any international travel from the United States that will require a visa to return to the United States should be carefully considered. 

International students, scholars, faculty and staff who have questions about the new travel requirements for entry to the United States, or concerns regarding their departure plans from the United States, can contact the International Safety Office (ISOat [email protected]. The ISO works  closely with the Office of Global Services and the Office of the General Counsel to support the Northeastern community. 

What do I need to consider when planning travel by land to the United States?

Non-essential travel: Effective November 8, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will allow international travelers to enter the United States through a Canada or Mexico land border or ferry terminal for “non-essential travel,” as long as they have been fully vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine. Non-essential international border travel – which includes tourism and personal visits – has been banned since March 2020 due to the COVID emergency. The new policy lifts this restriction for fully vaccinated international travelers only; unvaccinated international travelers will still be barred from engaging in nonessential land border travel through at least January 21, 2022.