Employment Law Report

State Department Announces Loosening of COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

By: Marianna J. Michael

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States, like other countries, banned travel from certain regions due to rapidly rising infection rates. Under the travel ban, travelers who had been in Brazil, China, the European Schengen countries, India, Iran, Ireland, South Africa and the United Kingdom at any point during the preceding 14 days were banned from flying directly to the United States unless they were U.S. citizens, green card holders, or had received exception waivers. After much anticipation, the Biden administration announced plans to rescind travel bans and instead require COVID-19 vaccinations starting on November 8, 2021.

According to early reports, fully vaccinated travelers will still need to complete pre-departure testing within three days prior to their departure to the United States, but they will not be required to quarantine upon their arrival. The U.S. Department of State stated that the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) “and the interagency are working to develop the orders and guidance documents to implement this new travel policy, and those details — for the airlines, for airline passengers, and for people coming to the land border — will be available well in advance of November 8 to understand what is required to be in compliance.” The CDC continues to determine the definition of what is considered “fully vaccinated” and whether certain vaccines qualify for the policy. The CDC is expected to issue a contact tracing order requiring airlines to collect contact information from each U.S.-bound traveler. 

This move will have a positive impact on U.S. business immigration. Having faced delays and backlogs, the removal of country-by-country travel bans will make it easier on employers to bring in workers on various visas.

Marianna J. Michael
Marianna Michael is a member of the Firm’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution Service Team. She assists in the representation of a broad range of clients in a variety of cases including commercial disputes, employment matters, immigration law, and employee benefits matters. Read More