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Non-US citizens will finally be allowed into the country from November onwards. They will, however, have to prove they are fully vaccinated and show a negative COVID test result.
White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients announced the new rules yesterday. He said that authorities will require all foreign travellers to show proof of being fully vaccinated and a negative COVD test taken in the 72 hours prior to arrival.
It was not immediately clear which vaccines would be accepted. Zients said that decision would be up to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Fully vaccinated passengers will not be required to quarantine.
Unvaccinated American citizens will need to show a negative COVID test taken in the 24 hours prior to arrival, and they will need to be tested when in the US. Full details on the rules for returning American citizens will be announced soon.
The CDC will also require airlines to collect contact information from travelers to facilitate contact tracing.
The new rules replace the patchwork of travel restrictions created by Donald Trump last year and tightened by Biden earlier this year.
"This is based on individuals rather than a country based approach, so it's a stronger system," Zients said.
The EU and UK had previously moved to allow in vaccinated US travellers without quarantining, in an effort to boost business and tourism. But the EU recommended last month that some travel restrictions be reimposed on US travellers because of the spread of the Delta variant in America.
The US's new travel restrictions will take effect in "early November" to give the travel industry time to prepare.