Travel News

Report: The US Plan to Reopen Borders But Require Visitors Be Fully Vaccinated

Written by Charlie

There is talk that the US could reopen the borders to foreign visitors again but would require all of them to be fully vaccinated. Here is what is going on.

It has been almost 18 months since the US closed its borders to many countries around the world. This was in response, in the early days, to the Covid-19 spread. It was thought that the closure would remain in place for just a couple of months but it is still here, despite many rumors that it would be soon opening. Now, it looks like it will reopen soon – but only for certain travelers.

Report: The US Plan to Reopen Borders – Only to Fully Vaccinated Visitors

The current list of countries from which non-US citizens can travel from (if they have been in these countries in the last 14 days before arrival) include the UK, Schengen countries in Europe (26 countries that share the Schengen border access), Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran, and Brazil (according to this exclusive report from Reuters).

This means that millions of would-be visitors to the US have been unable to enter the US except for certain exceptions. While other countries have reopened to Americans (among others) with avenues such as being fully vaccinated or producing a negative test, the US has not done the same. They do require for everyone entering the US – aged 2 and older – to have a negative test (including American citizens) but that was not enough for the US to open the borders to everyone again.

Now, however, it appears that this could change soon. The key to unlock those borders? Reports say the White House is in the development phases of rolling out a plan that would allow foreign visitors to the US but they would need to be fully vaccinated to enter. This is something that has actually been in discussion for a while but still not rolled out.

What’s Holding it Up?

My guess is that there are a lot of things that need clarification first. One of those is which vaccinations the US will accept that make someone be “fully vaccinated against Covid-19”. At present, even people that are fully vaccinated are still testing positive with the delta variant, thought some vaccines are showing more effective than others.

Another part is that the US has not allowed all available vaccines to be used in the US, specifically AstraZeneca and even a start/stop/start relationship with the one-jab Johnson & Johnson. Of course, there are other nations which have been making vaccines as well (such as Russia and China) but will the US consider those as being “fully vaccinated” for purposes of entry?

The US could be waiting until full FDA approval comes down on the US vaccines. It was originally said that Pfizer would receive full approval in early 2022 though now it is also being said that it could come as early as the end of this month.

When Will This Happen?

While this is a step towards reopening the borders, it will still likely be weeks, if not months, before the plan is officially in place. I would imagine the US would want to wait until the summer tourism season is over, especially with so many Americans already re-entering the US right now. The US could also do a wave-start where they allow only certain vaccines to be valid as a way of reopening in stages.

But, for any of this to work, there needs to be a program in place with the airlines and the White House has been having discussions with them as well. Determining what needs to be done by people visiting various countries has been strained – at best. For people currently entering the US by air, the airlines are the ones that are the frontline of making sure the tests have been taken and attestation papers filled – sometimes they are the only ones (as the US officials are not even checking those papers on arrival, in many cases).

I would hope that the US would allow vaccinated citizens to return the US without having to get tested. Many other countries in Europe, for example, that are open to Americans allow vaccination certificates or negative tests for entry yet the US still makes their citizens produce a negative test – regardless of vaccination status.

But, one step at a time, I suppose.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

1 Comment

  • If you enter over the southern border instead of an airport, no vaccine or covid test required. In fact, you get a free hotel room and can stay as long as you like. We’ll give you a bus ticket or fly you to some random city in the USA.

    It’s all political theatre.