New Guidelines for Travel to US Take Effect November 8

The Biden Administration has announced that new travel policies will take effect November 8, 2021, for all international travelers coming to the United States. Fully vaccinated international travelers will be allowed to enter the US by land, water and air without needing to quarantine. The change means that international members of SCI are now able to travel to hunt in the US and to attend the SCI Convention in January.

Under the new policy, air travelers must present proof of vaccination before boarding a flight to the US and provide a negative test result issued no later than 72 hours prior to flying. There will also be enhanced contact tracing of some form (details are pending) and masks will be required.

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients says the policy change applies to all air travelers, including those from South Africa, all 26 countries from the Schengen region of Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, India, China and Iran. Travelers from these destinations had been barred entry to the US since early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As for travelers crossing land borders, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas says the policies for the Canada and Mexico borders are now aligned with the new international air travel policy, although there are some differences when it comes to required testing. Travelers may now enter the US from Canada and Mexico for non-essential purposes via land and ferry border crossings with documentation that proves vaccination. Those who have been crossing for essential purposes (truck drivers, teachers, healthcare workers, etc.) have until January 2022 to get vaccinated. At that time the vaccination requirement will apply to all travelers at land and ferry crossings. A negative COVID test is not required for those crossing the land borders.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers a person fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose in a two-dose series, such as Pfizer or Moderna; or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. The CDC also recognizes vaccines that have been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization, including AstaZeneca/Oxford, Pfizer/BioNtech Comirnaty, SII/Covishield, AstraZeneca/AZD1222, Janssen/Ad26.COV 2.S, Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA 1273), Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, and Sinovac-CoronaVac.

There are also some changes affecting US travelers going abroad. Now, all unvaccinated Americans returning to the US are required to get a negative COVID-19 test within one day of departing for home (versus three days from arrival required of vaccinated travelers) and show proof of having purchased a viral test that they must take upon arrival in the US.

SCI members with questions may contact SCI’s Hunter Information Service at