On Monday, November 8, 2021, President Biden issued a proclamation entitled, “Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel” (the “Proclamation”). The Proclamation revokes prior presidential proclamations that suspended and restricted the entry of noncitizen nonimmigrants from China, Iran, the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Brazil, the Republic of South Africa, and India in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This is welcome news for businesses as these previous proclamations prevented many employers from hiring or retaining foreign talent unless the prospective employee qualified for a national interest exception. The new Proclamation adopts a less restrictive policy by suspending and restricting noncitizen nonimmigrants who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 from entering the United States by air, except in limited circumstances.

Noncitizen nonimmigrants excepted from the vaccination requirement include: (1) children under the age of 18; (2) individuals with medical contraindications to an accepted COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., a demonstrated anaphylactic reaction); and (3) individuals with a nonimmigrant visa (excluding a B-1 or B-2 visa) and who are citizens of a foreign country where less than 10 percent of the country’s total population has been fully vaccinated with any available COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals granted an exception must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test taken no more than one day before boarding a flight to the United States and must wear a mask over their nose and mouth during air travel and while indoors at United States transportation hubs. Further, some categories of exempted individuals must agree and arrange to be vaccinated within 60 days of arriving in the United States, or as soon as is medically appropriate as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if they intend to remain in the United States for more than 60 days. Notably, objections to vaccination based on religious or moral convictions do not qualify under any exception.

Fully vaccinated noncitizen nonimmigrants entering the United States by air travel must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test taken no more than three days prior to boarding a flight to the United States. Alternatively, if an individual has recently recovered from COVID-19, he or she may travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19, i.e., a positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official clearing travel.

This information is for educational purposes only to provide general information and a general understanding of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not establish any attorney-client relationship.