(CNN) — The White House said Friday that foreign visitors who have been fully vaccinated against the Corona virus will be able to travel to the United States starting November 8.
Kevin Munoz, a White House assistant spokeswoman, said on Twitter: “The new U.S. travel policy requiring vaccination for foreign travelers to the United States will begin November 8. This announcement and date applies to both international air travel and ground travel. This policy guides public health, which is strict and consistent.”
Reuters was the first to report the date.
The move will ease a patchwork of bans that have begun to cause outrage abroad and replace them with more uniform requirements for international air travelers. This would be welcome news for the travel industry, which has been pressing the federal government to lift some rules that ban international tourism, as well as airlines, hotels and hospitality groups.
A White House official told CNN that additional guidance on “extremely limited exceptions” to the requirements, along with COVID-19 vaccines that will be accepted and other operational details before the November 8 date.
“The CDC has already informed airlines that all vaccines approved and authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, as well as all vaccines that have an Emergency Use List (EUL) from the World Health Organization will be accepted for air travel,” the official said. The same is true at the land border.”
The same rules will also apply to non-essential travel at the US land border and to visitors arriving in the US by passenger ferry.
“These travelers should be prepared to certify vaccination status and provide proof of vaccination to a Customs and Border Protection officer upon request,” the official said. “By January, foreign nationals traveling across land borders for essential and non-essential reasons will be required to have a full vaccination.”
The US travel ban was first imposed in the early days of the pandemic when then US President Donald Trump limited travel from China in January 2020. The move failed to prevent the virus from reaching the United States, but other countries were added to the list. Officials have pressured the White House to limit entry from places where case rates have been high.
Trump added countries in the Schengen Area — which includes 26 countries in Europe, including France, Germany and Italy — along with Ireland and the United Kingdom. Brazil, South Africa and India were added separately. Land borders with Canada and Mexico have also been closed.
Biden maintained a strict ban on non-essential travel, even as vaccination rates rose in Europe, citing the unpredictable nature of the pandemic and the emergence of a delta variable.
But the policy infuriated European governments, whose citizens were still barred from entering the United States even as they curbed the epidemic amid successful vaccination campaigns. Countries with a higher rate of cases, which were not on the list, were not subject to the rules.
Over the past months, travel restrictions imposed on people wishing to enter the United States have turned into a major rift across the Atlantic. European leaders, frustrated by the apparent lack of progress, began to take matters into their own hands. They said the rules harm relations between Europe and the United States.