Immigration Travel Restrictions to be Lifted November 8 for Vaccinated Travelers

November 1, 2021

On November 8, 2021, the Biden Administration will lift the country-by-country COVID-related travel restrictions for foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated.

In 2020, during the initial onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, a series of travel bans was issued that affected travelers from China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen Area (most of western Europe), the United Kingdom, and Ireland. With some exceptions, individuals who had been in one of those countries at any point during the 14 days prior to entering the U.S. were required to apply for a National Interest Exception (NIE) at their local U.S. embassy or consulate before being able to travel to the U.S.

The lifting of these travel restrictions on November 8 will eliminate the need for an NIE, though a visa will still be required for those seeking entry to the U.S. in any nonimmigrant status (H-1B, O-1, F-1, J-1, etc.). This policy change will also potentially allow international students’ families from previously restricted countries to visit the U.S. While most travelers will be required to show proof of full vaccination, children under 18 who are not yet eligible for vaccination may be exempt.

For information about which vaccines will be accepted, how to show proof of vaccination, exceptions to the requirement, and other frequently asked questions related to vaccines and international travel, please see the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The full text of the October 25 Presidential Proclamation can be found on the White House's website.  

While ISSS still urges caution when considering international travel due to the ongoing pandemic and its impacts, we expect that this policy change will relieve some of the burdens imposed on Penn’s international community since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will provide updates to the Penn community as we receive news from our partners and from the White House.