US to End COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements 

US will welcome all foreign travelers regardless of their vaccination status. The new rules will become effective as of 12th May 2023.

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The United States has announced that as of May 12th, it will end the COVID-19 vaccination requirements at the same time ending the Public Health Emergency.

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed that non-US travelers arriving in the United States will no longer need to be fully immunized against coronavirus. 

The US Government has also started the process of removing vaccination requirements for Head Start educators, non-US citizens, as well as healthcare workers crossing the US land borders

The travel industry has welcomed the news, as the long-lasting restrictions have impeded the operation of many travel-related businesses.

Today's action to lift the vaccine requirement eases a significant entry barrier for many global travelers, moving our industry and country forward, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman said in a statement.

Earlier this year, in February, the US House of Representatives voted to remove the vaccination requirement for most non-US travelers entering the States. 

In June 2022, the Biden administration decided to lift the testing requirement for arriving travelers but vaccination requirements and keeping in place the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   

The new rules that will become effective as of May 12th will also affect travelers entering the United States by sea and land. Providing the vaccination proof will no longer be required. 

COVID-19 situation in the United States

According to the Johns Hopkins University's data, COVID-19 has led to the death of around 1,123,836 people, while more than 103 million US citizens have been infected since January 2020. 

COVID-19 continues to be a problem in the US. Nevertheless, the healthcare system and public health resources can respond to the threat that it may pose. It is no longer necessary to implement emergency powers in the same way as in the midst of the pandemic. 

More than 270 mln US citizens (over 81% of the population) have been vaccinated with at least two COVID-19 vaccination doses.  

Currently, the US health officials have adopted a similar approach to the virus as to influenza. The most vulnerable people are recommended to take updated shots on a yearly basis. However, only 17% of the US population has decided to receive a dose of the booster. 

Other entry requirements 

The regular entry requirements to the US remain unchanged, and all visa-exempt countries may still travel to the States without a visa.

However, they need to use the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, which allows getting the US ESTA and using it for tourism, transit, or business purposes.

ESTA is dedicated to all nationals participating in Visa Waiver Program. The electronic authorization remains valid for 2 years from the date of issue, and its holder is entitled to enter the US numerous times, while a total stay cannot exceed 90 days. 

The introduction of the ESTA system in 2009 has significantly increased the number of foreigners traveling to the country.

Currently, 40 different countries can enjoy a simplified online visa application process. 

Katarzyna Żyła

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