Biden Administration Plans to Rescind COVID-19 Travel Bans and Instead Require Proof of Vaccination

The Biden administration will be easing travel restrictions on all fully vaccinated international travelers for air travel and land borders effective on November 8, 2021.

On October 13, 2021, DHS Secretary Mayorkas announced that DHS will lift Title 19 restrictions for land and ferry border crossings from Canada and Mexico in two phases. In early November 2021, consistent with the rescission of the INA 212(f) COVID-19 entry bans for air travelers, DHS will first allow non-essential travel across the land and ferry borders for fully vaccinated individuals, while still allowing essential travel for unvaccinated individuals. In early January 2022, DHS will then require all foreign travelers, whether essential or not, to be fully vaccinated. There will be limited exceptions to these requirements, such as for children. This announcement only applies to regular land and ferry border crossings and does not lift the Title 42 restrictions for irregular land and ferry border crossings.

On October 11, 2021 it was confirmed via a CDC spokesperson that only vaccines that are approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or listed for emergency use by World Health Organization (WHO) will be accepted for international travelers seeking to travel to the United States.

As of the date of this update, the accepted vaccines are as follows:

  1. FDA Authorized/Approved: Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer-BioNTech
  2. WHO Approved: Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca/Covishield, Sinopharm, and Sinovac.

While much is not yet known about the implementation of the administration’s new travel requirements, it appears that as vaccines are added to the approved/authorized list by either the FDA or WHO, it will subsequently be accepted for international travelers. AILA will continue to provide additional updates on the implementation of these new requirements.

For more information on COVID-19 Travel Bans ,

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Biden to Rescind COVID-19 Travel Bans and Require Proof of Vaccination

President Biden announced that it is plans to ease travel restrictions on all international travelers coming into the United States beginning in early November 2021. The White House will rescind the current geographic COVID-19 related travel bans implemented for individuals from China, Iran, the Schengen Area, U.K., Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, and India and will instead move forward with solutions to deter the spread of COVID-19 based on individuals, rather than restrictions placed on entire countries or regions.

In place of these bans, all international travelers will be required to prove that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of boarding a flight to the United States. The CDC will provide information regarding which vaccines will be accepted.

Limited exceptions such as for children; COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants; and humanitarian exceptions for people traveling for an important reason and who lack access to vaccination in a timely manner will be available. Individuals who are exempted from the vaccine requirement may be required to be vaccinated upon arrival.

The administration will also be making additional recommendations to stop the spread of COVID-19, including 1) continuing the mask mandate through January 18, 2022; 2) expanding pre-departure and post-arrival testing requirements; and 3) implanting a contact tracing order for airlines.

The administration said it needs until early November to establish processes and procedures to fully implement this decision. (more…)

India Travel Ban to U.S. and Options Entering & Leaving India

Effective May 4the entry into the United States of certain nonimmigrant travelers who have been physically present in India is suspended.  U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPR), and immigrants are not subject to the proclamation.  The suspension of entry also does not apply to non-U.S. citizen spouses or unmarried children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.

** We encourage U.S. citizens who wish to depart India to take advantage of currently available commercial flights.  Airlines continue to operate multiple direct flights weekly from India to the United States.  Additional flight options remain available via transfers in Paris, Frankfurt, and Doha.  In general, the U.S. embassy and consulates in India may not assist U.S. citizens in finding commercial flights.  If your first choice of travel date is not available, please expand your search options.

*** Effective January 26, all incoming airline passengers to the United States aged two years and older must provide results of a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel.  Alternatively, travelers to the United States may provide documentation from a licensed healthcare provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel.

Country-Specific Information


Biden Travel Ban

January 25, 2021 -President Biden travel ban is imposed on many non-U.S. citizens attempting to enter the country. The move is an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19 and contain new variants of the disease that have cropped up in several countries around the globe.

The Biden travel ban would prohibit travelers from the United Kingdom, Ireland and 26 countries in Europe that allow travel across open borders, called the Schengen Area, Brazil and South Africa.

Permanent U.S. residents and family members and some other non-U.S. citizens are permitted to return to the United States under the order.  Under the Biden travel ban, non-U.S. citizens who have been in one of listed countries within the last 14 days are not eligible to travel to the United States.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director (CDC) implemented new rules take effect requiring all international air travelers age 2 and older to present a negative coronavirus test taken within three calendar days of travel or proof of recovery from COVID-19 to enter the United States.

For more information on Biden travel ban,

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Travel Restrictions Brazil to USA

On Sunday, May 24, 2020, the Trump administration issued the following proclamation that reads in part, “I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Federative Republic of Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.”

Why was this travel restrictions Brazil to USA issued? 

As of May 24, 2020, Brazil had more than 347,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Who is exempt from travel restrictions Brazil to USA?

U.S. citizens, permanent residents and spouses of U.S. citizens are among those exempted from the newly introduced travel ban.

When does travel restrictions Brazil to USA end?

This is meant to be temporary in nature but no end date has been provided.

For more information on Travel Restrictions Brazil to USA

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Visa Requirements for Bahamas Citizens Coming to U.S.

The U.S. Embassy in Nassau is open for emergency visa appointments and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Ports of Entry are prepared, should Bahamians request to temporarily relocate to the United States. The U.S. Embassy in Nassau is located at 42 Queen St, Nassau, The Bahamas and the phone number is 242-322-1181.

All travelers applying for admission to the United States via air or sea must meet the following document requirements for admission to ensure a lawful and orderly arrival to the United States..

1. Bahamians must be in possession of a valid, unexpired passport or a Bahamian Travel Document listing nationality as Bahamian. All other travelers arriving from the Bahamas (U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, and individuals of other nationalities) must possess a valid, unexpired government–issued passport.

2. Bahamians arriving to the United States by vessel must be in possession of a valid passport AND valid travel visa.

3. Detailed information on all visa application requirements and processes, as well as a step-by-step guide to visa applications for Bahamians, can be found at

4. Bahamian citizens may apply for admission to the United States without a visa at one of the CBP Preclearance facilities located in Nassau or Freeport International Airports, IF they meet the following requirements:
a) Be traveling on a flight that CBP completes immigration and customs inspections in Nassau or Freeport. (*Note – Bahamians traveling on to another country and expecting to transit the United States on their return will need a visa);
b) Be in possession of a valid, unexpired passport or a Bahamian Travel Document listing nationality as Bahamian;
c) Have no criminal record nor any legal ineligibility or inadmissibility as defined by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (click here);
d) Be traveling for business or pleasure (tourism, visiting relatives, shopping, etc.) purposes for a short duration;
e) All persons 14 years of age and older must be in possession of a police certificate issued within the past six months;
f) Bahamians traveling through the United States to a third country must possess a valid visa for return travel through the U.S.

Other details
CBP Port Directors may use discretion and will consider all exigent circumstances on a case by case basis, in accordance with existing laws and regulations.   

The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army continue to also work with local Florida governments to address any needs of evacuees who seek temporary relocation in the United States.

For more information on Bahamas Residents after Hurricane Dorian, 
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739,478 Overstay in the U.S. in 2016

U.S. Custom and Border Protection provides data on departures and overstays, by country, for foreign visitors to the United States who entered as nonimmigrant visitors and were expected to depart in fiscal year 2016. The report specifies that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processed 50,437,278 in-scope nonimmigrant admissions at U.S. air and sea ports of entry who were expected to depart in fiscal year 2016—of which 739,478 overstayed their admission, resulting in a total overstay in the U.S. of a rate of 1.47 percent.

Out of the total population, of the more than 21.6 million Visa Waiver Program (VWP) visitors expected to depart the United States in fiscal year 2016, 147,282 overstay in the U.S., with 128,806 suspected in-country overstays (a .60 percent suspected in-country overstay rate for VWP travelers). Of the more than 13.8 million non-VWP visitors—excluding Canada and Mexico—expected to depart the United States in fiscal year 2016, 287,107 overstay in the U.S., with 263,470 suspected in-country overstays. This resulted in a 1.90 percent suspected in country overstay rate.

Of the 1,457,556 students and exchange visitors scheduled to complete their program in the United States in fiscal year 2016, 79,818 overstay in the U.S. beyond their authorized window for departure, (more…)

Electronic Devices Subject to Search by Immigration

Beware – your electronic device may be searched and seized by immigration upon entry into the U.S.  U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP) has announced that in the first six months of fiscal year 2017 (October 2016-March 2017), it searched the electronic devices of 14,993 arriving international travelers, affecting 0.008 percent of the approximately 189.6 million travelers arriving in the United States. The statistics include a month-to-month comparison chart of FY2016 and FY2017, which shows that customs officers at the border and at airports nearly doubled their searches of electronic devices of people entering the United States in the last six months.

U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP) has distributed the document below (in italics) on the authority to search electronic devices, why the agency might subject an electronic device to an inspection, and what happens with the return or seizure of detained electronic devices.

Why You May Be Chosen for an Inspection

You may be subject to an inspection for a variety of reasons, some of which include: your travel documents are incomplete or you do not have the proper documents or visa; you have previously violated one of the laws CBP enforces; you have a name that matches a person of interest in one of the government’s enforcement databases; or you have been selected for a random search. (more…)

Can U.S. Immigration unlock cell phone before allowing admission to U.S.?

YES! Foreign travelers who are not U.S. citizens trying to enter the United States are not guarantee entry into the United States. Instead, foreign travelers (including green card holders) apply for entry into the United States and everything on them is subject to search when they present their visa or green card at the airport (or port of entry).  Since Trump presidency, we’ve seen U.S. Immigration unlock cell phone of many legal immigrants and visitors before allowing admission into the U.S.

The New York Times has reported that in 2015, U.S. Immigration Border Agents inspected 4,444 cell phones and 320 other electronic devices – 2016 statistics is unavailable. Recently, many foreign travelers have reported that immigration and security inspections at the border/port of entry and airport have extended to digital devices (including laptops and cell phones). In this day in age, inspecting a digital device can be more intrusive than inspecting a suitcase. Most digital devices have access to personal emails, social media accounts, photos, videos, text, web browsing history, etc.

How can foreign travelers prepare digital devices for inspection? (more…)