Story at a glance

  • White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients confirmed to Reuters the Biden administration is looking to require proof of vaccination for inbound foreign visitors.
  • This comes as the delta variant is surging in the U.S. and in other countries.
  • The ban will likely remain in place for several more months.

The White House confirmed on Thursday that it is poised to require foreign visitors traveling from abroad to be vaccinated as it gradually works to reopen international travel.

Reuters first reported the Biden administration was weighing this decision. White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters that there is an interagency working group helping design a system in which foreign nationals may need to have proof of vaccination to enter the country.

"We will be ready when it is the right time to consider reopening," Zients told reporters.

Currently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discourages international travel unless the individual is fully vaccinated. Major travel advisories are still in place for the bulk of foreign destinations for Americans, mainly due to COVID-19 threats, among other factors. 

Given the rampant spread of the delta variant in the country and abroad, officials aren’t likely to lift restrictions. White House personnel are reportedly looking into partnerships with airlines to see if it would be tenable to implement a vaccination mandate for inbound foreign visitors. 

International contract tracing programs are also part of the discussion.

Currently, most noncitizens are prohibited from entering the U.S., including residents of the U.K., China, India, South Africa, Iran, Brazil, Ireland and most of the other countries in western Europe. 

 

Published on Aug 05, 2021