After nearly two years of delays, shutdowns, and aggressive enforcement, the U.S. borders will open in November – but not for everyone. Here’s what you should know about the upcoming border changes.
Its been a long wait for many migrants looking to cross the border and enter the United States, but for some, the wait could be even longer due to vaccine shortages.
Officials announced that new travel policies would allow vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S. The new policy will replace the mismatched amalgamation of bans and obscure restrictions that have held the immigration system together during the pandemic.
Travelers who are fully vaccinated may enter the United States after November 8. It’s important to note that fully vaccinated individuals have taken either:
- The one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine
- Both doses of the Pfizer vaccine
- Both doses of the Moderna vaccine
Optional boosters will be highly recommended, but as long as travelers have been immunized with the full course of any of the above vaccines.
Fully immunized immigrants and travelers from the following formally banned countries will be able to enter the United States:
- The European Schengen area
- The United Kingdom
- South Africa
- The Republic of Ireland
What About Returning Americans?
Unvaccinated American travelers will also be allowed to enter the country, but they could face stricter rules and testing requirements. Within the United States, venues and businesses already require proof of vaccination or evidence of a negative test result. The same could be required of U.S. citizens returning to America. Children, however, will not be subject to any vaccination requirements. Mask mandates from the airlines will still be in place.
At this time, the new system of admission is still in the works. The required documentation for entry has not been announced yet, but proof of vaccination and citizenship will be expected at the least. Border officers and airlines will be working with the CDC to determine the best course of action going forward.
There will be no testing requirements for land borders, but those who fly may be required to provide proof of a negative COVID test according to airline guidelines.
In addition to restricted air travel, vehicle, rail, and ferry travel has been under strict restrictions for over 18 months. Admittance was only given to those with official reasons like trade or essential travel, but now that new plans are in place, those visiting the U.S. can enter as long as they’re vaccinated.
This is especially important to note for those in the shipping industry. Truck drivers and those in the shipping industry will be required to be vaccinated based on the new rules. Some are concerned that this could slow down the distribution and shipping industry which is already suffering from delays.
The goal of these new rules is not to slow down commerce or tourism but to cautiously open up the borders to vaccinated people.
At this time, the only penalty for unvaccinated travelers and migrants is a denial of entry. There has been no mention of additional penalties for those who refuse to cooperate. Still, many officials are waiting to see how the policy will roll out before enforcing further restrictions and punishments.
These new rules are meant to shift inadmissibility from entire countries to individuals, which is a significant move as world trade continues to struggle and people continue to migrate toward better opportunities.
The Law Offices of Joyce Komanapalli Jones will continue to stay updated on this matter.