Presidential Proclamation Lifts Travel Bans and Imposes Vaccination Requirement

Effective November 8, 2021, the Biden Administration is rescinding the COVID-19 related travel restrictions based on several presidential proclamations. In its place, President Biden has issued a proclamation that requires nearly all nonimmigrant international air travelers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before being admitted to the United States.

Definition of “Fully Vaccinated”

Prior to boarding a flight bound for the United States, a foreign national typically will be required to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID. A nonimmigrant is considered fully vaccinated if any one of the following requirements is met:

  • 2 weeks (14 days) after a dose of an accepted single-dose COVID-19 vaccine
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after the second dose of an accepted 2-dose series COVID-19 vaccine
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after the full series of an “active” (not placebo) COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S.-based AstraZeneca or Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trials
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after 2 doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart

The list of acceptable vaccines [at the time of this writing] is as follows:

  • Janssen / Johnson & Johnson (Single Dose)
  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • AstraZeneca
  • Covishield
  • BIBP/Sinopharm
  • Sinovac
  • Covaxin

Limited Exceptions to COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

Lawful permanent residents (i.e., green card holders) and those traveling on an immigrant visa are not covered by the presidential proclamation. Further, the presidential proclamation includes a list of exceptions to the general requirement of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These exceptions include the following:

  • Persons on diplomatic or official foreign government travel
  • Children under 18 years of age
  • Persons with documented medical contraindications to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Participants in certain COVID-19 vaccine trials
  • Persons issued a humanitarian or emergency exception
  • Persons with valid visas [excluding B-1 (business) or B-2 (tourism) visas] who are citizens of a foreign country with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces or their spouses or children (under 18 years of age)
  • Sea crew members traveling with a C-1 and D nonimmigrant visa
  • Persons whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, Secretary of Transportation, or Secretary of Homeland Security

If an unvaccinated nonimmigrant is admitted to the United States under one of the exceptions, based on the category of the exception, the foreign national may be subject to a number of additional requirements, including testing, self-quarantine, and self-isolation. Moreover, if the individual intends to remain in the United States for longer than 60 days, that person may be required to get vaccinated.


The presidential proclamation is a science-based public health measure to help control the spread of COVID-19. The hope is that efforts like these will help to finally get this pandemic under control.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.