Immigration Travel Restrictions to be Lifted in November for Vaccinated Travelers

October 9, 2021

In the coming months, the Biden Administration is expected to lift the COVID-related travel restrictions for foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated. No set date has been provided, but a spokesperson for the White House stated that the policy change will go into effect in early November 2021.

In 2020, during the initial onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, a series of travel bans were issued that affected travelers from China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen Area, 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. The lifting of these travel restrictions will eliminate the need for an NIE, although 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 to visit the U.S., which until now has been curtailed. 

While ISSS still discourages international travel due to the ongoing pandemic and the unpredictability of travel restrictions in third countries, we expect that this policy change will relieve some of the burden Penn’s international community has been experiencing 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.