US Releases New International Air Travel Requirements for Vaccinations and Testing

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By: Brittany Simmons

Beginning on November 8, 2021, foreign national travelers entering the United States from abroad must provide sufficient proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 before boarding an aircraft. This policy will replace prior travel restrictions on countries with high COVID-19 rates. Travelers crossing US land and ferry borders are subject to different regulations.

All international travelers must still show proof of a negative COVID-19 test when entering the US. Vaccinated travelers must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test dated no earlier than three days before departure. All unvaccinated travelers must show a negative COVID-19 test taken one day prior to travel. In the rare case a one-day test is unavailable, a passenger should file a testing waiver which will be adjudicated on a case-by case basis.

Vaccination requirements

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) will accept vaccinations approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or emergency use vaccinations listed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second shot in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, or two weeks after receiving their single shot in a one-dose vaccine. There are limited exceptions to the requirement such as for children, trial participants, and individuals with rare medical conditions. US citizens and lawful permanent residents are not required to show proof of vaccination.

All foreign national international travelers should bring proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flight to the US. The vaccination card can be paper or digital; it must be an official record from an official source. The traveler’s name, date of birth, vaccine product, dosage, and dates should all be included on the document.

Children under the age of 18 do not need to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to travel. This is because some vaccines are not approved for children, and vaccine access is limited for children. As vaccines become more readily available this policy may be updated. Children must take a COVID-19 test before departure. The testing requirements for children are the same as the testing requirements for adults.

Misrepresenting or falsifying any of the documentation required to travel will result in criminal penalties and/or fines.

contact tracing

Airlines will also be required to collect passenger contact information, such as their name, phone number, and email address. This information will be turned over to the CDC if the need arises to help trace the spread of COVID-19.


The immigration team at Chugh, LLP continues to closely monitor COVID-19 related travel policies. For case specific questions or help ensuring you have everything you need to travel, contact your trusted immigration specialist.


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