Vaccinated and COVID-tested: the US requirements to cross its border starting Monday

The United States is preparing to reopen its land and air borders to travelers vaccinated against COVID-19 on Monday, ending 20 months of particularly harsh restrictions criticized by Europe or neighboring Mexico and Canada.

Separated families, disrupted business relationships, thwarted career ambitions: The “travel ban” imposed by then-President Donald Trump in early 2020, later confirmed by his successor Joe Biden, has become emblematic of the upheavals brought on by the pandemic.

Also along the immense Mexican border, numerous American cities, in Texas or California, have suffered a strong economic shock and are anxiously awaiting a return to normalcy.

Read: The US will open the land border with Mexico to vaccinated travelers from November 8

The requirements for crossing

More than thirty countries will be included in the lifting of this “travel ban”.

But entry will not be completely free and US authorities intend to closely monitor the vaccination status of travelers, while continuing to demand negative COVID tests.

For travelers arriving by air, as of Monday, the United States will request, in addition to the vaccination certificate and a negative test within three days prior to departure, the establishment by the airlines of a contact tracking system .

For the land route, the restrictions will be lifted in two stages.

As of Monday, people who arrive in the country for reasons considered not essential, for example family or tourism, will be able to cross the border of Canada or Mexico as long as they are vaccinated.

Those who do so for compelling reasons, for example truck drivers, will be exempt from this requirement.

But from January the vaccination obligation will apply to all visitors who cross land borders, regardless of the reason for their trip.

The US health authorities have also indicated that all vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) would be accepted.

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At the moment, according to the emergency procedure established by the WHO, these are the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer / BioNTech, the Indian Covaxin, and the Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines.

But while they are being opened for some, the borders will in fact be closed for many Latin Americans with less access to the vaccine in their countries and who until now traveled as tourists to the United States to get immunized.

As well as for those who have received vaccines that have not been approved by the WHO. Being unable to enter the United States for the moment those immunized with the Russian Sputnik V and the Chinese CanSino, which were applied in many Latin American countries, including Argentina and Mexico.

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Vaccinated and COVID-tested: the US requirements to cross its border starting Monday

Hank Gilbert