President lifts ban on travel to Africa, but Vax test requirements remain for all US travel | Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophet, LLP

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President Joe Biden has lifted COVID-19-related travel restrictions imposed on eight African nations in late November. The rescission, which took effect at 12:01 p.m., Dec. 31, was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Concerned about the spread of the Omicron variant, the president had issued a proclamation on November 26 imposing travel restrictions on travelers to the United States from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, and Namibia. South Africa (where the Omicron variant was first detected) and Zimbabwe. The proclamation, with few exceptions and exceptions, prohibited the entry into the United States of non-US citizens, whether immigrants or nonimmigrants, who had been in any of these countries for 14 days or less prior to their entry or attempt to ‘entrance.

The President set out the following reasons for revoking the November 26 proclamation:

Ever since I aired [the original] proclamation, our nation’s health officials, in collaboration with the South African scientists who originally reported the variant, have made substantial progress in understanding the Omicron variant. It is important to note that scientific experts have determined that people who are vaccinated against COVID-19 are protected from serious illness and hospitalization by the Omicron variant. In addition, the Omicron variant has spread to more than 100 countries and is common in the United States. At the same time, my administration has made international travel to the United States from all countries safer in time since I issued. [the original proclamation, including generally applicable rules requiring] non – citizens to be fully vaccinated,. . . and for travelers to wear face masks on U.S. transportation and transportation hubs.

Current vaccination and testing requirements

As reported in the linked newsletter above, all persons traveling to the United States remain subject to COVID-19 vaccination requirements under Proclamation 10294 and the test and travel requirements issued by the CDC.

The current test and travel requirements are as follows:

  • Everyone International travelers arriving in the United States (including vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents) must submit proof of a negative COVID test made no earlier than one day prior to their scheduled departures.
  • U.S. citizens and unvaccinated permanent residents must also submit proof of purchase of a viral test to be done upon entry into the United States.
  • Foreigners must also present proof of having been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Other developments

In accordance with the repeal of the ban on travel to Africa, the United States Department of State has announced that as of January 1, the issuance of visas to persons subject to the ban would no longer be prohibited. but that current vaccination and testing requirements would remain in place. effects. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has made a similar announcement.

The State Department’s guide is also addressed to applicants whose visa applications “were rejected solely because of their presence in a country covered by a regional proclamation of COVID …” recommend that such applicants “contact the embassy or consulate where they submitted the application to request a reconsideration.”

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