Starting in November, restrictions will be eased for foreign visitors seeking to enter the United States by air, President Joe Biden’s administration announced Monday.
The new policy will affect travelers from 33 countries, including India, Brazil and China, as well as most European nations, according to Reuters. Previously, under guidelines issued by former President Donald Trump at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, air travel to the U.S. by many non-citizen travelers had effectively been banned.
After the Biden administration’s policy goes into effect, non-citizens will be required to show that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before leaving for the U.S.
“They must show proof of vaccination prior to boarding a U.S.-bound airplane,” White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said, as CNBC reported.
“This vaccination requirement deploys the best tool we have in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of the virus,” Zients also said, according to USA Today.
“Vaccines continue to show that they’re highly effective, including against the delta variant, and the new system allows us to implement strict protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” he added.
Moreover, non-U.S. citizen travelers will need to provide proof of a negative COVID test taken no more than three days before traveling.
The new policy also affects American citizens traveling from a foreign country to the U.S., who — if they are unvaccinated — will be required to take a COVID test no more than a day prior to departure, and again after arriving in the U.S.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki claimed the new policy was rooted in “science.”
“If we were going to make things much easier for ourselves, we would have done it prior to June, when the president had his first foreign trip, or earlier this summer. This is when the process concluded,” she told reporters on Monday.
“We’re basing it on science,” the White House press secretary added.
It remains unclear when exactly in November the new rules will take effect. Moreover, many specific details regarding the policy have yet to be released.