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This community wiki explains the current restrictions by the United States of America on the entry of individuals who may pose a risk of transmission of the SARS-Cov2, the virus which causes the Covid-19 disease.

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This answer currently lists nationwide entry restrictions imposed by the United States federal (national) government in response to COVID-19. There used to be state-specific restrictions (such as for Hawaii) but those have been replaced with nationwide rules by November 8th 2021.

Travelers who do not already have a valid visa and will need one for their planned travel should note that the US Embassies and Consulates are open at this time for limited services. Check the website of the consulate in your country for more information.


Vaccination requirement

Foreigners entering the US by air as nonimmigrants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which means two weeks after receiving the last dose of one of the seven WHO accepted vaccine products, the experimental Novovax/Covovax vaccine in a Phase III trial, or the CanSinoBIO, Clover Biopharm, or Sinopharm/WIPB vaccine in a clinical trial. Receiving a placebo in a clinical trial is not acceptable.

The entry vaccine requirement does not apply to US citizens, lawful permanent residents (green card holders), or immigrant visa holders. However, a separate requirement as part of the existing medical exam requirement, means that new immigrants must also receive the COVID vaccine prior to receiving such a visa.

The following exceptions are permitted:

  • air and sea crew members adhering to industry standards
  • diplomats and foreign officials
  • those who can't receive vaccines due to being too young or due to medical reasons
  • those in countries where COVID-19 vaccine availability is limited, seeking to enter the US on a nonimmigrant visa other than B-1/B-2 visitor visa
  • those granted exceptions by officials
  • US military members and their immediate family

Nonimmigrants who are not fully vaccinated but allowed to enter the US due to the above exceptions must agree to comply with certain health precautions, and (with some exceptions) must agree to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the US within 60 days of entry.

Effective date: November 8, 2021 at 12:01am EST

Starting October 1, 2021, immigrant visa applicants must receive a full COVID-19 vaccine series as part of their medical exam for immigration, except for cases where a vaccine is unavailable in their country or it is not age-appropriate.


COVID-19 test requirement

All travelers to the US by air, including US citizens, who are 2 years of age or older, must have a negative COVID-19 test from within 1 day of boarding their flight.

  • The CDC page on the testing requirement for air travelers

For the purposes of "1 day", the time of the test within a day does not matter. Either a NAAT test, such as a RT-PCR test, or an antigen test, including a rapid test, is acceptable.


Land border or ferry entry restrictions

Vaccinated travelers may enter the US at land borders from Canada or Mexico. They may also enter by ferry. See the announcement and fact sheet from the Department of Homeland Security.

Unvaccinated travelers may only enter the US through land borders for the following "essential travel":

  • US citizens and permanent residents returning to the US
  • Travel for medical purposes
  • Travel to attend educational institutions
  • Travel to work in the US
  • Travel for emergency response and public health purposes
  • Lawful cross-border trade
  • Official government or diplomatic travel
  • US armed forces and their family returning to the US
  • Military-related travel

These rules cover anyone traveling across the land border, even if they are not Canadian/Mexican. They do not affect entry from Canada or Mexico by air.

Effective date:

  • All entry by land restricted to essential travel: March 20, 2020 at 11:59pm EDT
  • Vaccinated entry by land for non-essential travel allowed, unvaccinated entry by land restricted to essential travel: November 8, 2021 (announcement)
  • All entry by land or ferry of foreign nationals restricted to vaccinated travelers: January 2022 (announcement)

Text of the current regulations, including definition of essential travel:

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    Love seeing the illogical South African ban removed. Happy that travelers from South Africa can now come and visit the US again! :-)
    – JonathanReez
    Dec 28 '21 at 20:27

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