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US Reentry Gets Tougher for Unvaccinated Travelers Under New Policy

Unvaccinated Americans will find themselves subject to stricter entry requirements upon returning home from abroad when the U.S. enacts its new system for international travelers at some point in November.

The White House announced earlier this week that, under the new rules, all adult international arrivals will be able to enter the U.S. with proof that they’re fully vaccinated and a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours prior to their flight.


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Foreign nationals who aren’t fully vaccinated won’t be allowed to travel to the U.S. at all, regardless of their country of origin, with the exception of children who are ineligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

The new entry regulations will also apply to immunized returning U.S. citizens and permanent residents, a Department of State spokesperson confirmed to Lonely Planet.

While being unvaccinated won’t bar homebound Americans from re-entering the States, the uninoculated will face tighter testing parameters than they currently do. These individuals will be required to present negative results from a COVID-19 test performed within just 24 hours of boarding their flight, rather than 72, and will also need to prove that they’ve purchased a viral test to take after their arrival in the U.S.

If you haven’t received the jab, the nation’s public health authorities don’t think you should be traveling abroad right now, anyway. “The Centers for Disease Control will continue to strongly recommend against air travel by U.S. citizens and [permanent residents] who are not fully vaccinated,” the State Department spokesperson explained.

During Monday’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that part of the U.S.’ new strategy will involve robust contact tracing efforts. Psaki said that the CDC, “will require airlines to collect comprehensive contact information for every passenger coming to the United States and to provide that information promptly to the CDC, upon request,” so that the agency can follow up with those whom it has found to have been exposed to COVID-19.

The CDC, however, has yet to issue an official contact tracing order, or divulge the details about how the new policy will actually work and the date on which it will go into effect.

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