Updated: The White House Announces New Travel Rules & Omicron Travel Ban

Update: Starting Monday, November 29, 2021 the United States in implementing a travel ban for travelers originating from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi due to concerns surrounding the new Covid-19 variant called Omicron. This entry ban will not impact travelers from any other countries right now.

US citizens are exempted from this travel ban for now and until further notice.

Other countries like Japan and Israel have closed there borders for ALL foreigners irrespective of vaccination status.

According to the research and review by the World Health Organization, Omicron has been designated a variant of concern. Depending upon its findings that will be released in the next couple of days, further travel restrictions will be announced for travelers entering the United States.

As of now, vaccinated travelers from other countries can continue to enter the US.

Previously, the White House had made it official – Starting November 8, 2021, the US borders will reopen to ALL vaccinated travelers headed to the United States. The travel ban which started in March of 2020 had prevented many families from reuniting and hindered foreign workers from resuming work. Now over 30 million visitors are expected to visit the country.

US Travel: Official Statement From The White House

The US has been a popular tourist destination and that got severely impacted over the past 18 months. Besides tourism, the US is also frequently visited for business purposes, its conferences and specialized medical treatments.

Effective Date – November 8, 2021

The White House official proclamation is effective at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on November 8, 2021.  This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on November 8, 2021.

Travel: What To Expect After November 8 2021

Over 30 million visitors visit the US every year. The Covid-19 pandemic brought that traffic to a standstill. Covid-19 based apps and Covid-19 passports are soon going to be a reality. Unvaccinated foreigners will be generally barred from entry, while unvaccinated US citizens will need a negative Covid-19 test to enter.

Now the US government is opening the borders at a critical time of the year. Diwali is around the corner, on November 4, and several travelers from India have already planned their festivities with an anticipation that travel will open up soon.


With the possibility of direct travel to the US now becoming a reality, Indians are definitely planning their travel dates for the foreseeable future.

After November 8 as the US borders open up for international travelers, foreign visitors or Americans entering the country will not need to go into quarantine. Non-U.S. air travelers will need to show proof of vaccination before boarding a flight, and will need to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. Foreign visitors crossing a land border will not need to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test.

White House Rules For Entering The USA

  • All air travel will be permissible into the United States after Nov. 8, 2021 for only those who are fully vaccinated with the complete series of Covid-19 vaccine.
  • Anyone, including a noncitizen who is a nonimmigrant who may be allowed to enter the country without being vaccinated will be asked to vaccinate within 60 days of entering and then show proof of the same.
  • Per CDC, all air travelers will have to provide proof of pre-departure testing for COVID-19
  • Per CDC, all air travelers will have to provide proof of having arranged for post-arrival testing for COVID-19 as well as proof of having arranged to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 after arriving in the United States
  • All air travelers will have to provide proof of having arranged to self-quarantine or self-isolate after arriving in the United States

Travel Requirements For Green Card Holders Entering The US

Green card holders were not restricted by the travel ban imposed by the US government. As long as green card holders follow the above regulations of carrying a negative Covid-19 test, are fully vaccinated 14 days before traveling and submit personal information for the sake of contact tracing, they may enter the country without any reservations.

Travel Requirements For US Citizens Entering The US

US citizens were not impacted by the travel ban either. They could freely move in and out of the country irrespective of the ongoing entry ban imposed by the US. However, like every traveler, US citizens have to get tested at least 72 hours before boarding a flight. They will have to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test both before departure as well as on arrival in the US. While CDC hasn’t insisted on US citizens being fully vaccinated before undertaking a US travel, it is highly recommended by WHO. US citizens need not quarantine on arrival if they test negative.

New Flights & US Ports Of Entry In 2021

Several airlines have started taking advance bookings for the rest of the year. Many have announced additional flight routes that will cater to the busy destinations like India-USA, Europe-USA and the transit options through the Middle East.

Airlines like Delta, United and American Airlines will now cover many more routes to make it convenient for travelers around the world to enter the United States.

US ports of entry at New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco will now have more flights scheduled to come in from around the world.

Do you need Covid insurance before traveling to the US? 5 Things You Need to Know About Travel Insurance and COVID-19

Americans traveling overseas must still show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test, and unvaccinated Americans will face stricter testing requirements. 

Important to Note

US citizens and green card holders will be subject to restrictions in countries they plan to visit, which may include quarantines.

What Are The Covid Vaccine & Testing Requirements To Enter The US After Nov 8, 2021?

As the borders open for international travelers, some mandatory requirements have been put in place by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is applicable to everyone entering the US either by air or land. 

  • Show proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid-19. 
  • By being fully vaccinated, you have to have taken the complete series of any of the WHO approved Covid-19 vaccines 14 days before boarding a flight to the US. Please see the current list of approved vaccines here.
  • CDC also says those that have an Emergency Use Vaccine Listing from the World Health Organization, are also acceptable for travel. This includes doses developed by AstraZeneca Plc, as well as China’s Sinopharm Group and Sinovac Biotech Ltd.
  • Show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken a maximum of three days before.
  • The test should specifically be an RT-PCR test. Other tests and its results will not be acceptable. 
  • The test result should explicitly state “Negative”. And have the name, address, phone number as well as the passport number of the traveler.
  • All international airlines require that passengers wear a mask and an additional shield inside the flight, in the airports and at all closed spaces while in the US.
  • Agree to be re-tested on arrival. This can be either conducted randomly or at specific ports of entry with busy traffic.
  • Submit personal information to facilitate contact tracing in the future.

Exceptions To The Travel Requirements, Post November 8, 2021

While all travelers are expected to be fully vaccinated with a WHO approved Covid-19 vaccine, the White House did make an exception for minors. Children under 18 will be exempted from the travel vaccine mandate. Additionally, people who have mixed shots from two different providers will be treated as vaccinated. 

Visitor Visa Requirements For Travelers Entering USA After November 8, 2021

While the travel ban was in place, only US citizens, green card holders and students with a valid F1 student visa were allowed to enter the country. Other visa holders like B2 visitor visa, B1 business visa, etc. were barred from coming in. 

Exceptions were made for those serving the US economy, supporting Covid-19 treatments and or involved in diplomatic relations between the United States and their country.

After November 8, anyone entering the US will need a valid visa. If you don’t already have a B2 visitor visa, here is the entire US Visa Process.

If a family member of accompanying the minor child, they have to show proof of relationship as well as an approval from a US government authority to accompany the child. This could be in the form of a National Interest Exception (NIE) approval. This is applicable to travel until November 8, 2021. After this a suitable visa will have to be applied for before traveling to the USA.

What To Expect At US Consulate Abroad

Since the pandemic was announced, US consulates abroad have been practicing lockdowns, social distancing and shelter in place. Due to this they have been operating on limited resources, reduced hours of operation and limited documentation.

As a result, issuance of visas has been impeded, delayed or cancelled in most instances.

Travelers applying for new visitor visas or seeking a renewal should anticipate delays and clogged appointment schedules.

Related Article: ALL The New Travel Rules After The Travel Ban Is Lifted On November 8, 2021