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U.S. requires travelers entering country at land ports-of-entry to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19: Important updates and information

All non-U.S. individuals entering the United States at land ports-of-entry and ferry terminals are now required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The new rule went into effect on Jan. 22, 2022 and impacts most individuals traveling for both essential and non-essential purposes. The measure does not apply to U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs).

Non-U.S. citizens and LPRs will need to provide the following at land points-of-entry, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS):

  • A verbal attestation confirming their COVID-19 vaccination status
  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination
  • Valid Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) record, which could include a passport, a Trusted Traveler Program card and/or other documentation.
  • Any other information requested by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers

Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the recommended dose(s) of vaccines that are approved/authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As of January 24, those vaccines include:

  • FDA authorized/approved: Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer-BioNTech
  • WHO approved: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covaxin, Covishield, BIBP/Sinopharm, Sinovac, Novavax/Covovax, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson

The CDC lists the following as acceptable forms of proof of vaccination:

  • Vaccination certificate with a QR code or a digital pass via a smartphone application with a QR code
  • Printout of a COVID-19 vaccination record or a COVID-19 vaccination certificate issued by an authorized vaccine provider
  • Digital photos of a vaccination card/record
  • Downloaded vaccine record or vaccination certificate from an official source
  • Mobile phone application without a QR code

Proof of vaccination must include, at minimum, personal identifiers such as full name and date of birth; name of the source issuing the certificate; as well as the vaccine manufacturer and date of vaccination.

A similar measure requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all non-U.S. citizens and LPRs entering the United States via air went into effect in late October 2021, when the U.S. government moved away from country-by-country restrictions.

In addition, all international air travelers two years of age and older must show proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within one day of their departure to the U.S., regardless of their vaccination status.

There is currently no testing requirement for travelers entering the United States via land ports-of-entry or ferry terminals.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm at 704-442-8000 or via email with any questions.

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