ATLANTA — New requirements for entering the United States highlight the need for international travelers to constantly keep track of rules that can change from day to day.
Air travelers, including vaccinated U.S. citizens, now have to show proof of a negative COVID test taken within one day of departure. Visitors from several African nations are banned from entering the U.S., due to the spread of the Omicron variant.
Visitors from other nations must be fully vaccinated to enter the U.S., which means it has to be the right vaccine. Only vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization are acceptable.
“There are currently only eight vaccines that have been approved,” says Laurie Garrow, a Transportation Systems Engineer with Georgia Tech. “It’s a really limited list.”
Millions of people have received the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine. Because of supply issues and manufacturing concerns, the World Health Organization has not authorized Sputnik V for emergency use. So, even though they’re vaccinated, travelers who’ve received the Sputnik V vaccine won’t be allowed in the United States.
The Covaxin vaccine, which was developed in India, and the Sinovac vaccine from China, are both authorized by the World Health Organization and acceptable for travel into the United States.
Garrow says if you’re planning any international travel, remember the entry rules for your destination can change at any time.
“Each country may have their own specific requirements or set of guidelines that may not be the same as the World Health Organization,” says Garrow. “Check the requirements right before you depart and continue to check them.”
Americans traveling to France have to be vaccinated and prove they don’t have COVID-19. The country will soon require anyone over 18 to have a booster shot.
“If you’re traveling between countries, check the entry requirements for both,” says Garrow. “If you’re going from China to Japan, it might be different than traveling Japan to China.”
The CDC recommends that you do not travel internationally unless you’re vaccinated.