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United States lifting COVID-19 testing requirement for inbound travelers: Important details and information to know

The United States is planning to lift the COVID-19 testing requirement for all inbound air travelers, Biden administration officials told multiple news outlets Friday.

Since January 2021, all individuals entering the United States from abroad via air, regardless of vaccination status, have been required to test negative for COVID-19 before boarding an aircraft. The order applies to all air travelers, including American citizens and legal permanent residents, with limited exceptions.

However, the Biden administration will end the testing mandate on Sunday, June 12, administration officials said. Thereafter, individuals will no longer need to take a COVID-19 test and show proof of a negative result to their airline before traveling to the United States.

The CDC will “reassess the decision in 90 days,” according to CNBC.

“If there is a need to reinstate a pre-departure testing requirement — including due to a new, concerning variant — CDC will not hesitate to act,” a Biden administration official told CNBC.

The attorneys at Garfinkel Immigration continue to monitor the situation closely and will provide updated information as it becomes available.

COVID-19 vaccination requirement

It is important to note that while the CDC is lifting the COVID-19 testing order, the vaccination mandate for international travelers remains in effect.

All foreign nationals entering the United States must be “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19, with very limited exceptions. An individual is 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).

As of June 10, those vaccines include:

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

A booster dose is not required at this time.

Individuals can provide the following to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as proof of vaccination:

  • A vaccination certificate with a QR code or a digital pass via a smartphone application with a QR code
  • A 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
  • A downloaded vaccine record or vaccination certificate from an official source
  • A mobile phone application without a QR code

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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