Children under the age of 18 who are unvaccinated against the coronavirus, and a limited category of foreigners arriving from countries with low vaccination rates, are among the travelers exempted from forthcoming requirements that will determine who can enter the United States, Biden administration officials said on Monday.
The Biden administration has announced that it would lift travel restrictions on November 8 and reopen the United States to fully vaccinated international travelers who had been barred for nearly a year and a half from entering the country by air or crossing the land borders.
But the new travel system also comes with stringent requirements, and will seal the United States off from most foreigners who have not yet received a vaccine cleared by the World Health Organization or U.S. federal regulators.
On Monday, senior officials detailed opportunities to enter the United States for certain travelers who struggled to obtain a vaccine because of a lack of uniform vaccine eligibility for minors, as well as limited access to the global supply.
The vaccination requirement does not apply to US citizens and immigrants.
The official said the under 18 exemption reflected the fact that in many countries coronavirus vaccines have not been authorized or made available for minors.
Also exempted will be travelers from countries with a lower than 10% vaccination rate, due to lack of availability, which is the case across much of Africa and other large parts of the world.
However, all travelers, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, will have to show proof of a negative coronavirus test.
For vaccinated passengers, the test can be taken within three days of travel, but for those not vaccinated the test must be within one day.
Only vaccines approved by the US regulator, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the UN’s World Health Organization will qualify. Although this includes the Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines, those who used Russia’s Sputnik V will remain shut out.
With files from AFP