For the first time in more than18 months, fully vaccinated travelers from dozens of other countries can enter the United States on Monday.
Visitors will need to show proof of vaccination and a negative coronavirus test taken within three calendar days of travel. Unvaccinated Americans and children under the age of 18 are exempt from the requirement, but must take a test within one day of travel, The New York Times reported.
The extended ban on travel had applied to 33 countries, including European Union members, China, India and Iran.
“Monday begins in earnest the return of international travel, when long-separated families and friends can safely reunite, travelers can explore this amazing country, and the U.S. is able to reconnect with the global community,” said Roger Dow, president of the U.S. Travel Association, the Times reported. “It is a monumental day for travelers, for the communities and businesses that rely on international visitation, and for the U.S. economy overall.”
Airlines reported big jumps in online searches and ticket bookings for international travel — particularly from Europe and Latin America — shortly after the Biden administration announced its plans to ease the travel restrictions in September.
Right after the September announcement, American Airlines said bookings went up 66 percent for flights between Britain and the United States, 40 percent for those from Europe and 74 percent for Brazil, compared to a similar period a week earlier. United Airlines noted it sold more tickets for trans-Atlantic flights in the days after the announcement than during a similar period in 2019. Delta Air Lines said that many of its international flights on Monday were fully booked.
The reopening comes just in time for the holiday season, when the battered tourism industry hopes for an influx in international visitors, especially in big-city destinations like New York, Los Angeles and Miami. The extended ban triggered losses of nearly $300 billion in visitor spending and more than 1 million American jobs, according to the travel association.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on traveling safely during the pandemic.