The United States is to re-open in early November to air passengers from China, India, the UK and many European countries, including Spain, who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the White House Coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients has said.
The US restrictions were first imposed on travellers from China back in January 2020 by former President Donald Trump, then later extended to other countries in the following months, without any specific criteria to measure the Covid pandemic in each country for how and when to lift them.
Current President Joe Biden added new travel restrictions on India in April of this year, barring most non-US citizens from entering the United States. Biden also reversed plans by Trump in January to lift restrictions on European countries.
The United States currently bars most non-US citizens who within the last 14 days have been in UK, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.
There will be some exceptions to the vaccine policy, the White House said, including for children not yet eligible to be vaccinated. The new rules do not yet apply to travellers crossing land borders with Mexico and Canada.
Airlines have heavily lobbied the White House for months to lift the restrictions, but were unsuccessful at having them lifted in time for the summer travel season. The White House said in July it had concerns about the highly infectious Delta variant and a rising number of US Covid-19 cases.