United States lifts restrictions on international travelers

Newark International Airport in New Jersey, USA, November 25, 2020 (illustrative image).


Text by: RFI Follow

4 min

The United States will allow all people from overseas to enter from November on the condition that they are fully vaccinated against Covid.

The White House announced it on Monday.


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Eighteen months after its establishment by the Trump administration in March 2020, the ban on entry into the United States for international travelers will finally be lifted.

It concerns nationals of 33 countries, including those of the European Union, the United Kingdom and China.

But this opening of the borders will not be without strict conditions, warns the coordinator of the fight against the pandemic at the White House, Jeff Zients.

Travelers will have to show proof of vaccination against Covid-19, get tested within three days before their trip to the United States and wear a mask.

In addition, a contact tracing system will be set up by the airlines, which will have to collect the information enabling them to be contacted.

Which vaccines?

The White House, however, did not immediately specify which vaccines would allow entry on American soil. This is far from being a detail, however, because many British and Europeans have received the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not recognized in the United States where only those of Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are. (Janssen). And the Chinese have developed their own serum, just like the Russians.

This concerns all people vaccinated with vaccines that are recognized by the American Medicines Agency

 ", explained European Commissioner Thierry Breton, responsible for coordinating the supply of the European Union with anti-Covid vaccines and who spoke with the White House pandemic coordinator.

He told me that for the other vaccines, for AstraZeneca in particular, it was their health agency that would decide, but he seemed to be positive and optimistic,

 " he added.

A decision hailed in Europe

While President Donald Trump had initially closed the borders for thirty days, the restrictions will therefore have lasted a total of some 20 months, to the chagrin in particular of European countries, which have reopened their borders to vaccinated Americans and who were annoying of this lack of reciprocity.

The European Commission welcomed the announcement of the lifting, stressing that it was a decision "

 long awaited by separated families and friends, and good news for businesses


On Twitter, German Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz applauded "

excellent news for German and European investments, our exports and the entire transatlantic relationship 


While Boris Johnson said he was " 


", his head of diplomacy Liz Truss welcomed "

 excellent news for travelers from the United Kingdom to the United States 

". “ 

It's important for our economic recovery, our families and our trade. 


During this long period the restrictions also caused countless painful personal and family situations, now separated from hundreds of thousands of people.

The new protocol will allow family reunions that many Internet users demanded under the slogan #LoveIsNotTourism ("Love is not tourism") and delighted the airlines.

The association of European airlines Airlines for Europe tweeted its satisfaction, applauding an announcement that "

 will give a much needed boost to transatlantic travel."


Lifting restrictions not for everyone

The new protocol will only apply later to India or Brazil.

And the US land borders with Canada and Mexico remain closed to "non-essential" travel except to US citizens.

Unvaccinated Americans who return to American soil after a stay abroad will be subject to even stricter testing requirements, Zients said.

They will be asked to be tested during the day before their return and not within three days, and to be tested again after their arrival.

The White House has

toughened its tone

in recent weeks in the face of

resistance against vaccination

in the country.

However, it has not yet taken one of the most drastic decisions in its power, namely to impose vaccination on domestic flights in the United States.  

► See also: United States: millions of unemployed people lose their special Covid-19 benefits





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  • United States

  • Coronavirus

  • Tourism