The Mercury News

U.S. plans to require vaccines for foreign travelers

- By Zeke Miller

WASHINGTON >> The Biden administra­tion is taking the first steps toward requiring nearly all foreign visitors to the U.S. to be vaccinated for the coronaviru­s, a White House official said Wednesday.

The requiremen­t would come as part of the administra­tion’s phased approach to easing travel restrictio­ns for foreign citizens to the country. No timeline has yet been determined, as interagenc­y working groups study how and when to safely move toward resuming normal travel. Eventually all foreign citizens entering the country, with some limited exceptions, are expected to need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the U.S.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the policy under developmen­t.

The Biden administra­tion has kept in place travel restrictio­ns that have severely curtailed internatio­nal trips to the U.S., citing the spread of the delta variant of the virus. Under the rules, non-U.S. residents who have been to China, the European Schengen area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa and India in the prior 14 days are prohibited from entering the U.S.

All travelers to the U.S., regardless of vaccinatio­n status, are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of air travel to the country.

The Biden administra­tion has faced pressure to lift some restrictio­ns from affected allies, the air travel industry and families who have been kept separated from loved ones by the rules. Many have complained that the travel restrictio­ns don’t reflect the current virus situation — particular­ly as caseloads in the U.S. are worse than in many of the prohibited nations.

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