White House Proclamation on International Travel
October 25, 2021
ADVANCING THE SAFE RESUMPTION OF GLOBAL
– – – – – – –
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The continued spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a global threat to our health and safety. COVID-19 has resulted in more than 733,000 deaths in the United States and more than 4,932,000 deaths worldwide. New variants of SARS-CoV-2 have also emerged globally, and variants that are more transmissible or cause more severe disease than the original virus strain are identified by the United States Government SARS-CoV-2 Interagency Group as variants of concern. Globally, as of October 20, 2021, 166 countries have reported cases of the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, a variant of concern that spreads more easily than previously discovered variants of SARS-CoV-2. The potential emergence of a variant of high consequence — one that significantly reduces the effectiveness of prevention measures or medical countermeasures — is also a primary public health concern.
It is the policy of my Administration to implement science-based public health measures, across all areas of the Federal Government, to prevent further introduction, transmission, and spread of COVID-19 into and throughout the United States, including from international air travelers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the Department of Health and Human Services has determined that the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19, including preventing infection by the Delta variant, is for individuals to get vaccinated. According to the CDC, vaccinated individuals are 5 times less likely to be infected and 10 times less likely to experience hospitalization or death due to COVID-19 than unvaccinated individuals. Other mitigation measures are also critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19. These measures include testing and mask-wearing, which are particularly important strategies to limit the spread of COVID-19 from asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals, as well as self-quarantining and self-isolating. But vaccination is the most important measure for reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission and for avoiding severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
Substantial efforts are being made to increase vaccination rates across the globe. The availability of COVID-19 vaccines is rising, and over 6 billion doses have been administered globally. As of October 24, 2021, 29 countries have a COVID-19 vaccination rate higher than 70 percent, many countries are making efforts to encourage COVID-19 vaccination for their populations, and some countries are considering or adding proof of vaccination requirements as conditions for entry. Many low-income countries continue to have limited vaccine availability, but the United States is leading a global effort to donate hundreds of millions of vaccine doses where they are needed the most.
In light of these facts and circumstances, I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to move away from the country-by-country restrictions previously applied during the COVID-19 pandemic and to adopt an air travel policy that relies primarily on vaccination to advance the safe resumption of international air travel to the United States. This proclamation governs the entry into the United States of noncitizen nonimmigrants — that is, noncitizens who are visiting the United States or otherwise being admitted temporarily — traveling to the United States by air. It suspends the entry of unvaccinated noncitizen nonimmigrants, except in limited circumstances, and it ensures that the entry of unvaccinated noncitizen nonimmigrants is consistent with applicable health and safety determinations made by the Director of the CDC, including a requirement that, where appropriate, such individuals agree and arrange to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 upon their arrival. My Administration has also taken action, apart from this proclamation, to ensure that noncitizen immigrants are vaccinated prior to air travel to the United States.
Together, these policies aim to limit the risk that COVID-19, including variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, is introduced, transmitted, and spread into and throughout the United States, potentially overwhelming United States healthcare and public health resources, endangering the health and safety of the American people, and threatening the security of our civil aviation system. Given the resumption of air travel as worldwide restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic begin to ease, these policies will, consistent with the measures required by Executive Order 13998 of January 21, 2021 (Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel), advance the safety and security of the air traveling public, the government personnel responsible for ensuring the security of air travel, and the millions of individuals employed by the United States air travel industry, as well as their families and communities, while also allowing the domestic and global economy to continue its recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 1182(f) and 1185(a) of title 8, United States Code, and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, hereby find that it is in the interests of the United States to advance the resumption of international travel to the United States, provided necessary health and safety protocols are in place to protect against the further introduction, transmission, and spread of COVID-19 into and throughout the United States. I further find that vaccination requirements are essential to advance the safe resumption of international travel to the United States and that the unrestricted entry of persons described in section 2 of this proclamation would, except as provided for in section 3(a) of this proclamation, be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and that their entry should be subject to certain restrictions, limitations, and exceptions. I therefore hereby proclaim the following:
Section 1. Revocation of Country-Specific Suspensions and Limitations on Entry. Proclamation 9984 of January 31, 2020 (Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus and Other Appropriate Measures To Address This Risk), Proclamation 9992 of February 29, 2020 (Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus), Proclamation 10143 of January 25, 2021 (Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease 2019), and Proclamation 10199 of April 30, 2021 (Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease 2019), are revoked.
Sec. 2. Global Suspension and Limitation on Entry of Certain Individuals Who Are Not Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19. (a) The entry into the United States by air travel of noncitizens who are nonimmigrants and who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is suspended and limited, except as provided in section 3 of this proclamation. This suspension and limitation on entry applies only to air travelers to the United States and does not affect visa issuance.
Sec. 3. Scope of Suspension and Limitation on Entry. (a) The suspension and limitations on entry in section 2 of this proclamation shall not apply to any noncitizen seeking entry as a crew member of an airline or other aircraft operator if such crew member or operator adheres to all industry standard protocols for the prevention of COVID-19, as set forth in relevant guidance for crew member health issued by the CDC or by the Federal Aviation Administration in coordination with the CDC.
Sec. 4. Implementation and Enforcement. (a) The Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the Director of the CDC, shall implement this proclamation as it applies to the public health through such procedures as may be established, and consistent with the CDC’s independent public health judgment, including by:
Sec. 5. Termination. This proclamation shall remain in effect until terminated by the President. The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall, as circumstances warrant and no more than 60 days after the date of this proclamation and by the final day of each calendar month thereafter, recommend whether the President should continue, modify, or terminate this proclamation.
Sec. 6. Effective Date. This 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.
Sec. 7. Severability. It is the policy of the United States to enforce this proclamation to the maximum extent possible to advance the national security, public safety, and foreign policy interests of the United States. Accordingly, if any provision of this proclamation, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid, the remainder of this proclamation and the application of its provisions to any other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
Sec. 8. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this