The Biden administration is working on plans that would require nearly all foreign visitors to show proof of vaccination when travel restrictions to the US are eventually lifted, according to reports.
An unnamed official, speaking with Reuters, said that travel restrictions that are currently barring visitors from many countries from traveling to the US wouldn’t be struck immediately, given the rise of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
The White House is currently managing interagency working groups and having conversations with major airlines “in order to have a new system ready for when we can reopen travel”, according to the official, which would be “a phased approach that over time will mean, with limited exceptions, that foreign nationals traveling to the United States (from all countries) need to be fully vaccinated.”
As it stands, most non-US citizens aren’t allowed into America if they have spent time in the United Kingdom, the Schengen area nations in Europe, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, or Brazil within the last two weeks.
The restrictions date back to the beginning of the pandemic, when travel from China was restricted in January of 2020, followed by visits from other nations. The most recent addition to the list is India, which was added in May.
A number of issues remain outlying when it comes to new travel policy, including what level of proof authorities will demand when it comes to vaccines, and which vaccines it will accept under the new regime, given that some countries use Covid vaccines that aren’t approved in the US.
Authorities are also considering working with airlines to develop international contact tracing. Under the potential new set of rules, it could still be a long time before travel returns to normal.
Out of roughly 4.25 billion doses of the vaccine that have been administered, the lion’s share have gone to wealthy nations like the US, the UK, and Canada.
Meanwhile, even as some of these nations have extra doses, many poorer countries, particularly throughout Africa, only have vaccination rates in the single digits.
Other countries like the UK and Canada, meanwhile, are considering relaxing their requirements for Americans who wish to travel there.