On October 12, 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will reopen the U.S. land borders with Mexico and Canada for non-essential travel for vaccinated travelers.  Non-essential travel includes tourism and family visits.  Land and ferry crossings from Canada and Mexico have been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020.    DHS indicated that this policy change will align land border crossings with the new international air travel COVID-19 prevention protocols to be implemented in November 2021. Accordingly, it does not appear as if U.S. citizens will be required to be vaccinated to enter the U.S. from Canada or Mexico.  Similar to the the new rules for international air travel, DHS has not announced a specific day in November that the land borders with Canada and Mexico would be reopened for non-essential travel.

Continue Reading US to Reopen Border with Mexico and Canada

On October 8, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced which vaccines will be acceptable for travel to the U.S. once the Biden Administration lifts the COVID-19 travel bans.  This follows the Administration’s September 20th announcement that it will rescind the COVID-19 travel restrictions banning most travel from Europe, Brazil, India, China, Iran, and South Africa.  In its place, the Administration signaled it would replace the bans with a vaccine mandate for most foreign international air travelers, including those coming from countries not previously impacted by the COVID-19 travel bans.  The Administration, however, has not stated which vaccines would be accepted until now.

Continue Reading CDC Announces Vaccines Acceptable for U.S. Travel

On September 20, 2021, the Biden Administration announced that it will rescind the COVID-19 travel restrictions banning most travel from Europe, Brazil, India, China, Iran, and South Africa.  In its place, the Administration will impose new COVID-19 prevention protocols on all international air travelers, including those coming from countries not previously impacted by the COVID-19

Several news outlets, including Reuters, AP and NBC, are reporting that a condition of reopening travel to the United States may include vaccination against the SARS-COV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.  These reports come only ten days after the White House confirmed that the travel bans currently in place for travelers from 33 countries will remain

On July 6, 2021, the Department of State extended the validity of National Interest Exceptions (NIE) for travelers subject to restrictions under the COVID-19 travel bans (Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 10143, and 10199).  Unless otherwise indicated, existing NIEs will be valid for 12 months from the date of approval and for multiple entries, as long as they are used for the purpose under which they were granted.

Continue Reading State Department Extends Validity of National Interest Exceptions

On May 27, 2021, the Secretary of State broadened the eligibility criteria regarding categories of business travelers eligible for National Interest Exceptions under Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 10143, 10199, and similar subsequent proclamations related to the spread of COVID-19.  As a result of this determination, together with national interest determinations already in place, travelers subject to these proclamations due to their presence in China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, who are seeking to provide vital support or executive direction for critical infrastructure, and those traveling to provide vital support or executive direction for significant economic activity in the United States, may now qualify for National Interest Exceptions.

Continue Reading State Department Broadens National Interest Exception Criteria for Business Travel

On May 24, 2021, the US State Department announced that US citizens overseas with U.S. passports which expired on or after January 1, 2020, may be able to use these expired passports to return directly to the United States until December 31, 2021.  According to the US State Department, US citizens qualify for this exception if all of the following are true:

  • The traveler is a U.S. citizen.
  • The traveler is currently abroad seeking direct return to the United States.
  • The traveler is flying directly to the United States, a United States territory, or has only short-term connecting flights through a foreign country on a direct return to the United States or to a United States Territory.
  • The traveler’s expired passport was originally valid for 10 years. Or, if the traveler were 15 years of age or younger when the passport was issued, the traveler’s expired passport was valid for 5 years.
  • The expired passport is undamaged, unaltered, and in the traveler’s possession.


Continue Reading State Department Changes Policy on the Use of Expired US Passports for Travel to the US