U S-IMMIGRATION: COVID-19 vaccine proof is still required for non-US citizens entering the country

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Washington DC: The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has extended its COVID-19 vaccine proof requirement for non-U.S., nonimmigrant citizens flying to enter the United States. 

With this latest TSA directive, the  United States is the only western country and among the few remaining countries in the world still to require such proof for entry.

The directive states that effective to at least January 8, 2023, aircraft operators must require each non-U.S., nonimmigrant citizen to present a paper or digital documentation for “proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” or documentation proving the person is excepted from taking the vaccine, before boarding a flight to the United States.

A “nonimmigrant” means not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, lawful permanent resident, or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is being fully vaccinated means having an accepted single-dose vaccine or a second dose of a two-dose series at least 14 days ago.

A booster dose is not needed to meet the requirement.

It comes after the Biden administration in June dropped its requirement for air travelers entering the United States to test negative for COVID-19, meaning a person with the disease could still be allowed into the country, provided they have proof of vaccination.

While the vast majority of countries have dropped COVID-19 vaccine proof requirements for entry, the United States and a few other countries around the world continue to require them for non-citizens, with no alternate avenues for the unvaccinated such as requiring proof of immunity against COVID-19, a negative test, or a quarantine period instead.

The other countries include Pakistan, Indonesia, Ghana, and Liberia.

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