New international travel rules and restrictions: What to know

The travel rules go into effect on Nov. 8

The Biden administration announced Monday that all foreign, non-immigrant travelers coming to the U.S. are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, allowing only limited exceptions.

In addition, all international travelers will need to be tested for the virus before boarding a plane to the U.S. and there will also be tightened restrictions for American and foreign citizens who are not fully vaccinated.


Those who are vaccinated will still need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of travel and the unvaccinated must take a test within one day of travel.

The new rules take effect on Nov. 8.

Children under 18 and people from countries with a shortage of vaccines will be exempt from the new rules. However, they will still need to take a COVID-19 test unless they are 2 years old or younger.

Denver International Airport crowded with passengers at security

In this June 16, 2021 file photo, travelers queue up in long lines to pass through the south security checkpoint in Denver International Airport in Denver.  (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Travelers from countries with vaccine shortages may be admitted to the U.S. with a government letter authorizing travel for a compelling reason and not just for tourism, a senior administration official said. The official estimated that there are about 50 such countries.

Others who will be exempt include those who participated in COVID-19 clinical trials or who have had severe allergic reactions to the vaccines.

The government will reportedly require that airlines collect contact information on all passengers regardless of their vaccination status to help with contact tracing efforts and airlines that don't could face a fine of up to nearly $35,000 per violation.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also spot-check passengers who arrive in the country.

The U.S. will accept any vaccine approved for regular or emergency use by the World Health Organization or the Food and Drug Administration. Mixing and matching shots will be allowed.

This comes as the Biden administration has eased restrictions on nonessential travel from several dozen countries including China, Brazil, India, South Africa and Iran, as well as most of Europe.


While there is no vaccination requirement for domestic travel in the U.S., the CDC recommends that those who are not yet fully vaccinated do not travel. 

Those who are fully vaccinated are still advised to wear a well-fitted mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission, and Americans are instructed to avoid crowded or poorly ventilated spaces.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.