On the eve of US President Joe Biden's speech at the United Nations General Assembly and with the visit of those allied countries suffering from the restrictions, the barely concluded chapter of the exit from Afghanistan, and a growing diplomatic crisis with France, the White House has announced that as of November the restrictions for travel to the United States will change.
According to White House pandemic coordinator Jeffrey D. Zients, people from countries that were on the "banned travelers" list will be able to enter the U.S. before the pandemic began. There are still doubts about the exact dates when the restrictions will be lifted or the protocol to be followed for those children who still cannot be vaccinated; however, there are points that have been made clear.
How will entry into the United States be? Will a quarantine be required? Will entry tests have to be performed? We solve some of the most common doubts.
Countries that will be allowed to re-enter the U.S.
Entry will resume for 33 countries from which direct access was not allowed until now. Travelers coming from the Schengen zone such as Spain, France, Germany, or Italy, as well as tourists coming from China, United Kingdom, Ireland, Iran, South Africa, Brazil, or India will be able to enter. They must show that they have been vaccinated and have a negative test. No quarantine will be required.
Negative coronavirus test
Travelers must have a negative test no later than three days before boarding their flight.
What happens if I am not vaccinated?
You will not be allowed to enter the United States. It must be two weeks after the last dose of vaccine to enter the United States.
What if I am a U.S. citizen and decided not to be vaccinated?
U.S. citizens who have decided not to get the vaccine must be tested one day before flying and again upon landing on U.S. soil.
New tracking system
Airlines will collect contact information (phone numbers and e-mail addresses) to communicate and alert flight passengers of possible exposure to the virus. Airlines should retain this information for 30 days.
Travel may be direct to the United States
Previously, travelers coming from countries for which restrictions applied could stay 14 days in an intermediate country that was not on the list of banned territories (without quarantine) and then enter the United States. This will no longer be a requirement for entry into the United States.
What vaccines are accepted for entry into the United States?
Vaccines that are accepted must be approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization or the U.S. regulatory body. For now, they are Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sinopharm, Sinovac/Coronavac. Among the vaccines that have not been approved by the World Health Organization are Sputnik V, Novavax, Abdallah, and Soberana.
Land borders will remain closed
Unless it is essential to travel, the borders with Mexico and Canada will remain closed until at least the end of October. Among the causes that the embassy considers essential are medical purposes, labor, public health, legal cross-border trade, diplomatic travel, official government travel, or military travel.
Pending to define rules for Mexico-US travel
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the National Chamber of Air Transport (Canaero) met with the International Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the United States Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to define the entry requirements for travelers between Mexico and the United States, said Cuitláhuac Gutiérrez, country manager of the Association in Mexico.
While it is estimated that domestic traffic will have a 100% recovery by the end of 2021, the situation will be different for international traffic to the United States, as it will depend on the rules issued by the American government regarding the vaccination certificates that will be requested from November to all foreigners wishing to enter its territory.
Currently, U.S. authorities require anyone traveling by air to its territory, including U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents older than two years, and regardless of vaccination status, to present a negative covid-19 screening test or documentation proving that they have recovered from the disease.
"In Mexico, vaccination has progressed significantly and progress has also been made in digitizing the vaccination certificate. Much will depend on the rules put in place by the U.S. government," said Gutiérrez, who is also the director-general of Canaero.
Nearly 70 percent of Mexico's international air market is concentrated in traffic with the United States, and during the health emergency, there was significant vaccination tourism that served to reactivate this segment, recovering traffic in less than two or three months, explained the IATA and Canaero executive.
Traffic in the rest of the international markets, such as Europe and Asia, which represent close to 30 percent of Mexico's international traffic, continues to be devastated, and "very mixed signals are being sent, which is why the reactivation does not necessarily have to do with a recovery," said the executive.
He also stated that for aviation in Mexico it was the right decision to keep the borders open, as this allowed the national industry to move forward and be leaders in the recovery of the industry in the region, to the point of becoming one of the first five countries in the world to recover domestic markets.
"Perhaps the decision to maintain open borders was much more valuable than having received an injection of capital, or condonations and monetary issues as happened in other countries. We were able to reactivate ourselves in a safe way, we were never disconnected from the region and this made an important acceleration", concluded Gutiérrez.
At this moment, operations between Mexico and the United States remain frozen as a consequence of the downgrading of our country to Category 2. In other words, Mexican airlines will not be able to increase routes or frequencies or register additional aircraft, and code-sharing with U.S. airlines will be affected.