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May 11, 2023
The Biden administration has ended COVID-19 vaccine requirements for international travelers, effective today.
The change in policy, which was in place for roughly two years, coincides with the administration’s termination of COVID-19 as a public health emergency. The new policy ending vaccine requirements also applies to federal employees and federal contractors.
“While vaccination remains one of the most important tools in advancing the health and safety of employees and promoting the efficiency of workplaces, we are now in a different phase of our response when these measures are no longer necessary,” the White House said in its statement last week.
The announcement was welcomed by the travel industry, which has pointed out that inbound travel to the U.S. is still lagging, with only a 70% rebound compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
“Today’s action to lift the vaccine requirement eases a significant entry barrier for many global travelers, moving our industry and country forward,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of U.S. Travel Association. “However, the return of international visitors should be as efficient and secure as possible. The federal government must ensure U.S. airports and other ports of entry are appropriately staffed with Customs and Border Protection officers to meet the growing demand for entry.”