President Biden reinstated COVID-19 travel restrictions on most international travel locations on Monday in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, a move U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci called ‘prudent’. How will these new international travel bans affect you?
The Biden administration’s travel restrictions come nearly a year after former-president Trump’s initial declaration of a public health emergency in the United States, as well as the initial restriction on travel to and from China’s Hubei Province.
Travel restrictions previously imposed on the European Schengen area, the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, China, Iran, and Brazil were maintained. The European Schengen area includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
South Africa was added to the list of restricted countries in an effort to reduce American exposure to the new, contagious variant B.1.351 of the Corona Virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the variant “was first identified in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, in samples dating back to the beginning of October 2020, and cases have since been detected outside of South Africa.”
Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) and citizens of the United States are not subject to the restrictions. So, if you fall into this category, the international travel bans will not affect you while entering the U.S.
Also in an effort to curb the spread of the virus, international travelers must test negative for COVID-19 in order to enter the United States, as mandated by the CDC on Jan. 26. Negative results are considered valid only if taken within 72 hours prior to departure, and travelers must provide documentation of their negative test results.
Regardless of the international travel bans, all airlines are required to confirm negative test results for all passengers over the age of 2 prior to boarding. In the event that a passenger does not or cannot provide proof of a negative test result, the airline must deny access to the aircraft.
The CDC’s Passenger Disclosure and Attestation form states that failure to attestation or submitting false test results could result in “delay of travel, denial of boarding, denial of boarding on future travel, or put the passenger or other individuals at risk of harm, including serious bodily injury or death,” alongside noting that any passenger who fails to adhere to the guidelines may be subject to criminal penalties.