US Planning To Require Vaccination For All Visitors

The U.S. is planning to require vaccination as a condition of entry for nearly all visitors to the country. This would replace country-by-country bans on travelers, and would not apply to returning U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

The Biden administration is developing a plan to require nearly all foreign visitors to the United States to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of eventually lifting travel restrictions that bar much of the world from entering the United States, a White House official told Reuters on Wednesday.

The White House wants to re-open travel, which would boost business for the airlines and tourism industry, but is not ready to immediately lift restrictions because of the rising COVID-19 case load and highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant, the official said.

There are many issues to be sorted out in a policy like this, including:

  • What vaccines count? Would AstraZeneca, for instance, be accepted when it isn’t approve for use in the U.S.? Would China’s less effective Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines be accepted, though they’re in use in much of the world?

  • What level of vaccination is required? A first Pfizer dose may be more effective than one dose vaccines, but requires two doses to be considered “fully vaccinated.”

  • How long is vaccination good for? We know that antibodies wane, and there’s some indication immunity may as well.

  • What proof is accepted? US CDC cards have no universal mechanism for verification, and U.S. airlines may not have the technology to interface with all world data systems that do exist.

However any system that increases the likelihood that visitors have been vaccinated is good from a public health standpoint, and is superior than the current approach that banes a vaccinated European but allows entry by unvaccinated Indonesians and Russians.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. I’m assuming this would negate the need for testing prior to entry (at the very least for U.S. citizens). Or I hope so anyway.

  2. So this applies to everyone except its own citizens? At least allow it to forego the negative testing requirements which in most countries is a Microsoft word document

  3. US Citizens cannot be denied entry, so this can’t apply to citizens. This is not just a Constitutional requirement, it is also a practical requirement. If your own country doesn’t let you in, where do you go?

  4. @BlackHill – During the last decade 2/3rds of unauthorized immigrants have come from to the US legally and then overstayed their Visa. I guess the answer is yes. According to Homeland Security, a sizable majority of the undocumented/illegal immigrants entered the US legally, they just didn’t go home when they were supposed to.

  5. I wonder when this gets implemented? This may kill off travel from many developing nations with low vaccination rates. Latin America especially could be hard hit as would China if their vaccines arent accepted.

  6. @efs183.
    Our own government data says at least a million entered US illegally through southern border in the last 6 months including those with COVID positive. Are we going to enforce this rule or apply rules only when it benefits a political party?

    Guess which race would be hit hardest by this rule? Black and Latino’s. Per government’s own data less than 36% of the blacks have been vaccinated and less than 42% of the Latino’s have been vaccinated.

    In the future, this rule will be equated to slavery for suppressing people. Just remember who is doing this.

  7. I’m wondering what they’ll think about foreigners who got vaccinated in the U.S.
    All we have are our CDC cards but we live abroad and don’t hold any status in the US

  8. @glenn t, Everyone has their own perspective of the subject, so long as we remain as humans to discuss different view points nothing is a wrong. At least it gives us a chance to see what others think of the same subject, that’s just my thoughts.

  9. People who are FOR Tuskegee should not be vaccinated. Tuskegee was where people did not received medication so that would be like not being vaccinated.

    People who are against Tuskegee should be rushing out to get vaccinated.

  10. Wow, Derek you are really out there in a far far place. Can you please clairfy those statements for us dumbies!

  11. Can we take the xenophobia elsewhere?

    Guarantee that Abbott and DeSantis’s anti masking and anti vaccine policies are creating more COVID cases than illegal immigration.

    Back on topic: Excellent move by the Biden administration. Too bad they didn’t have the stones to apply it to U.S. citizens as well. Hopefully when this is implemented they also do away with the testing requirement on re-entry for vaccinated US citizens. They should keep it for unvaccinated US citizens – as an incentives to get vaccinated.

  12. Since vaccination centers do not check proof of residency, I’ve heard foreign tourists mainly visit USA right now for the vaccine (some stay for 3 weeks just to get both Pfizer shots).

  13. @bob

    “Guarantee that Abbott and DeSantis’s anti masking and anti vaccine policies are creating more COVID cases than illegal immigration.”

    Since those illegals are NOT being tested before being released en masse, just how do you count their numbers who are actually infected, when making this comparison?

  14. I love this. Fantastic. Lock out everyone from entering unless you got the jab. This will be wonderful for the economy, other nations can do the same and the world will be in a better place. Then we expand it to include 100 more vaccines existing and coming soon. Forget about taking care of yourself. Everyone gets fat and eat whatever they want cause they are protected. Biden… you are doing a great job!! Please terrify daily as the fear factors will speed this up!! Go America!!!

  15. quoted:What level of vaccination is required? A first Pfizer dose may be more effective than one dose vaccines, but requires two doses to be considered “fully vaccinated.”

    Can you list any examples? For J&J that’s simply not true. Which one dose vaccines are you talking about?

  16. @bob, Just because people have different opinions, it does not mean you have to start calling people with names like xenophobia etc..
    I was born and raised in India. Followed the laws of the land and immigrated to this country. There is a difference between me not liking when people don’t follow the laws of the land vs me not liking someone because one’s race, religion or country of birth.

    I welcome all those who follow the laws of the land. I don’t try to undercut the laws..
    Your stance that even US citizen should have a condition to enter their own country shows your lack of knowledge of the Constitution of the United States of America.

  17. @Joey: given that the US has a surplus of vaccine doses right now and not enough people taking them, and countless doses have to be thrown out, I’d say we could start inviting a few million tourists over the next few months from countries with not enough doses, to get vaccinated here. Why not? It’ll boost the tourism industry and help global vaccination efforts.
    Nobody ever listens to me…

  18. I guess the vaccination requirement will not apply to the people crossing the southern border illegally. They are not “visitors.” They are future US citizens!

  19. @BlackHill just because you were born in another country, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t a hateful, racist, xenophobic pig. There are racists in every country. There are bigots in every country, including your home country with its antiquated and hateful caste system. People come to this country for opportunity, and our immigrant community has some of the hardest working people out there.

  20. @Neal Z

    Are you differentiating between legals vs. illegals within “our immigrant community has some of the hardest working people out there”?

  21. @Neal Z,
    I clearly mentioned 2 things I. My comments
    1. I welcome all those who follow the lands of the land irrespective of ones race, religion or where they come from
    2. It’s a human nature to discuss and get a perspective of others opinions without falling into animal realm.

    Thanks for confirming yourself and your nature.

  22. This is not unprecedented. I remember when anyone (including US citizens) could not enter the US without proof of smallpox vaccination.

  23. @Qinxuan Pan – They certainly can, they’ll just get around it by making the airlines do their dirty work. Sure if you show up at they border and you’re a citizen they have to let you in, but if the airline lets you fly into the US without a covid test, they’ll get a big fine. It lets them deny entry to US citizens without doing it directly, because the government is above the law.

  24. Regarding vaccines like AstraZeneca, the US will surely permit any vaccine authorized by the WHO. I’m in the US and am in the AstraZeneca phase 3 trial, and I received a CDC card, because it is WHO-authorized.

  25. @Blackhill: Got news for you, bud: US Citizens currently face restrictions on our lawful entry into the country. For one: negative COVID test required to enter by air. Could do the same thing for vaccination status – make the airlines deal with it. For two: passports can be denied or revoked. As for the Constitution – next time a border agent asks to search your bag or personal electronic device, tell them the 4th Amendment protects you from that search and see how far that gets you…

    @CuriousCat: I don’t need to. Florida and Texas combined are producing more than ~25,000 to ~30,000 confirmed COVID cases a day (actual case number higher). Using numbers posted earlier in these comments – ~6000 illegals crossing the southern border every day. You don’t seriously believe there’s more COVID coming in that way, than through the ignore COVID policies of Abbott and DeSantis, etc? No, no you don’t.
    (And then let’s say just for kicks, the Biden Administration fully vaccinated the illegal immigrants they are “releasing” before doing so. Would that solve your objection? No? Well then your issue has little to do with COVID restrictions)

    I stand by my post: Illegal immigration is a spurious argument in a COVID travel policy discussion. Raising it is underwritten by xenophobia.

    This used to be a travel blog. Guess not anymore. See yah.

  26. How about doing like a number of countries in Europe that permit either fully vaccinated people or those who have negative COVID-19 tests?

    As for US citizens, I am still shocked that it is allowed / considered legal to keep them from entering their own country without a negative test. Perhaps it may be more legal to change it up to not allowing citizens to leave without being vaccinated.

  27. @Bob, Having issues with government encouraging immigrants to break our own laws has nothing to do with xenophobia. I judge an act by its content not by who does it. It is wrong for Americans(be it white, black, brown or whatsoever color or nationality origin) to illegally step into another country, similarly other immigrants(be it white, black, brown or whatsoever color or nationality origin) to step into US illegally is still illegal and should not be encouraged instead they should be prosecuted as per law.

    Picking and choosing which laws to follow and which laws not to follow is the foolish thing. I can’t choose not to wear a mask in the planes because of my color, nationality, religion, my opinion or my political affiliation.

    Xenophobia is dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries. I have no problem with anyone from any country coming to this country and immigrating permanently or temporarily so long as they choose to do legally. Question is legality NOT the race of the person who is doing it or nationality where one came from. Government discriminating against people who come legally to produce different papers or restrict them from entering but allowing illegals to enter without any documentations and even with COVID positive is the problem.

    It is you who is choosing to differentiate people based on where one came from or what their race is and you know what that really means. It looks more like you are guilty of what you are accusing others of.

  28. I have known of many who have come to the US specifically to get a vaccine because the vaccine is too difficult to get in their home country. I find it sad that this would shut these people out.

    At the Miami airport, they offer vaccines on-site. When I stayed at an airport hotel earlier this summer, I was told that most of the guests were in town from other countries specifically to get the vaccine.

  29. Will this apply to the illegal aliens who are in McAllen Texas right now? 5,000+ are currently in a holding facility in Donna Texas alone.

  30. @Bob — “I don’t need to. Florida and Texas combined are producing more than ~25,000 to ~30,000 confirmed COVID cases a day (actual case number higher). Using numbers posted earlier in these comments – ~6000 illegals crossing the southern border every day.”

    Do you realize that those illegals who have been infected, but NOT tested and treated, are capable of rampantly spreading their infections without tracking or mitigation measures, especially with the current spates of the super-infectious Delta variant? Are you blithely ignoring the FACT that those who have already gotten full dose vaccinations can STILL get infected (and spread)? Just look at what happened recently in Provincetown, MA where 74% of those infected had already gotten their full-dose vaccinations!

    With your 25,000 to 30,000 daily infections figure, exactly how many were ACTUALLY due to being unvaccinated? Do you have a clue? By the way, weren’t those 25,000 to 30,000 infections actually accumulated over a weekend, rather than over a 24-hour period? Have you succumbed to the extreme POLITICIZATION of this issue, such that FACTS no longer matter? Are you now ascribing CAUSATION based on some flimsy observations of seeming CORRELATION?

    In actuality, this obsession with #infections is totally meaningless and irrelevant, since the most critical parameters to monitor are the ICU occupancy levels and #deaths occurring! Even at Provincetown, their ICU levels and #deaths were extremely low, so panicking over #infections there was actually pretty meaningless, except to highlight continuing susceptibility to getting infected post-vaccinations. Seems kinda contradictory that infections continue to be a risk even after full-dose vaccinations, huh?

    The PROPER strategy to fight off this pandemic, is to firewall off those who are most vulnerable and get them protected (whether using therapeutics or vaccines) while letting the rest of the population just carry on, as usual (without any more lockdowns or shutdowns that already destroyed so many lives and businesses), since, for the vast majority of healthy people, the infection death rates are <<1%! How do you expect to achieve herd immunity by relying solely on vaccines, when their efficacy seem to be deteriorating over a matter of a few months, so that Big Pharma is now already campaigning for 3rd jabs? Natural immunity, on the other hand, has already been demonstrated to last throughout the duration of this pandemic, thus far!

  31. @Bob — “I stand by my post: Illegal immigration is a spurious argument in a COVID travel policy discussion. Raising it is underwritten by xenophobia”

    I forgot to comment on your assertion above — you’re conflating two totally different issues just to coerce some type of seeming linkage between COVID travel policies and illegal immigration. One is dealing with public safety while traveling, and the other is dealing with law and order. Conflating these two issues has been a primary tactic of Progressives to confuse and mislead the public!

  32. Never have I seen so many so eager to surrender the freedoms . . . freedoms that previous generations of Americans bravely fought and died for. What are we leaving our future generations? A mountain of debt and a vaccine passport to control their lives?
    Our Children are 30% of the population but 100% of the future. Don’t allow this insidious government control to take their freedoms, even if you don’t care about yours.

  33. As you note there are some details to work out, but in principle it’s great. We know that vaccines work. Require vaccination (except for kids under 12 for the time being) and eliminate masking and testing requirements. This needs to happen in many areas of society. As long as we keep making it easy and convenient to not get vaccinated, lots of people won’t.

  34. @One Trippe – yet the former POTUS you slurp over gave a $1.5T tax cut to the richest 1% and corporations…that’s a real “mountain of debt” that did nothing for the country. But the current POTUS actually wants to invest in infrastructure (you know the thing the former guy talked about but didn’t actually give a damn to try to do).

    Oh, and bless your little heart.

  35. @UA-NYC

    Can you define what constitutes “invest” and “infrastructure” under this current administration? Have you actually “peeked” to see what’s purportedly classified as “infrastructure” in the latest “infrastructure” bill? Have you actually digested all of the PORK that’s included in the $1.2 Trillion package? Since WHEN did so-called “Climate Change” activism and Cryptocurrency issues become part of “infrastructure”? WHY are so many “infrastructure” programs that can be more effectively and efficiently implemented at the state levels being federalized? WHY does there exist a cross-linked reconciliation package that will add another $3.5 Trillion to help fund Amnesty for Illegals? Since WHEN did such “immigration” issues become part of “infrastructure”?

    And many more such critical questions of relevance to “infrastructure” continue to be raised as more people and agencies review this fake “infrastructure” piggy package that does NOT solve much of what REAL “infrastructure” updates/upgrades actually need!

  36. Until the Feds close the southern border, I don’t give a shit about any Covid restrictions, vax etc.

    Really, what’s the point? Letting all these illegal aliens in the country, covid positive and then disbursing them throughout the country to spread it even more.

    And I”m supposed to care about everyone else. Yeah right

    Close the southern border and I’ll rethink the above.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *