After 18 months of restrictions, the United States has finally announced that sometime in November it will ease travel restrictions for international visitors coming by air and who are vaccinated. The rule will not apply to those who are attempting to enter the United States by crossing land borders. Furthermore, there is still a ban on people attempting to come from Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, South Africa, India and the United Kingdom. Those who are trying to enter after November, must show that they have been fully vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of boarding a flight to the United States. It is not clear which vaccines the CDC will accept beyond the three already authorized.
This change will greatly benefit the United States tourism, an industry that has suffered a $500 billion loss in travel expenditures in 2020 alone according to the U.S. Travel Association. Unvaccinated Americans who want to come back home from overseas will have stricter testing requirements. These requirements include a negative COVID-19 test one day before traveling to the U.S. and need to show proof that they have bought another test to take after arriving in the U.S.
While this does open up the country to many more travelers, unvaccinated people will face more restrictions. Even if they are coming from countries that do not face travel restrictions to enter the U.S., those who are unvaccinated might be banned completely from entering the U.S. The Biden administration maintains that the restrictions are still very necessary because of the continuing spread of the Delta Variant.
This has caused many countries to push for a global vaccination or a global framework for travel where the testing resources are more available to all populations. This concern arises from travel being restricted to those from countries that have the capacity to develop, carry and administer vaccines. There is an argument that those from countries who do not have accessible vaccinations are being restricted from the freedom to travel.
Furthermore, the countries that continue to be on the travel ban are expressing their frustrations. Britain and other European Union countries are expressing their frustrations that the US has not restricted travel from countries such as the Caribbean nations or Argentina where the rate of infection is higher than Britain. As a result, the European Union is looking to put more restrictions on American travelers.
Countries are continuing to monitor how the U.S. opens its borders and the impact it has on their own economy and the global economy at large.