International Visitors Must Continue Verifying COVID-19 Vaccination Status
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Acting Executive Assistant Administrator of Operations Support Austin Gould recently signed a new Security Directive that continues requiring certain non-residents entering the U.S. to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
TSA Security Directive 1544-21-03A applies to non-US citizens traveling on an airline effective November 9, 2022, and remains in effect until January 8, 2023.
International airlines must confirm that each Covered Individual has the following:
Presented paper or digital documentation of Proof of Being Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19, including personal identifiers that match the unique identifiers on the passenger's passport or other travel documents; or presented documentation proving that they are an Excepted Covered Individual.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this requirement was initiated on October 25, 2021, amended on October 30, 2021, and again on April 14, 2022, providing further instructions on implementing a U.S. Presidential Proclamation.
As of August 24, 2022, the CDC's website says if you are a non-U.S. citizen who is a nonimmigrant (not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, lawful permanent resident, or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa), you will need to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before you travel by air to the U.S. from a foreign country.
However, some categories of noncitizens and nonimmigrants are excepted from this requirement. Therefore, if you meet the criteria for one of these categories, you must fulfill additional requirements to travel by air to the U.S.
And for information about COVID-19 requirements for land travel and ferry terminals, visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Fact Sheet: Guidance for Travelers to Enter the U.S. at Land Ports of Entry and Ferry Terminals.
The CDC defines fully vaccinated as a person who has received the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine primary series or one dose of a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine primary series.
If you have a weakened immune system or are at increased risk for severe disease, take multiple prevention steps to provide additional layers of protection from COVID-19 even if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, says the CDC.
During the pandemic, the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association found that by August 2022, local pharmacists administered about 50% (270 million) of all COVID-19 vaccinations in the U.S.
According to data sources, there were 22.1 million international visitors to the U.S. in 2021.
And as of November 6, 2022, the TSA reported airport security screening activity had returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Moreover, the TSA has been screening most air passengers in about ten minutes.
Additionally, the CDC recommends various travel vaccinations if you are visiting countries where the disease is endemic, such as yellow fever.
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- CDC - Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers
- Presidential Proclamation on Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- SD 1544-21-03A
- Guidance for Travelers to Enter the U.S. at Land Ports of Entry and Ferry Terminals
- TSA checkpoint travel numbers
- Essential services: Quantifying the contributions of America’s pharmacists in COVID-19