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New travel restrictions will require unvaccinated Americans to face additional testing

Sept. 20, 2021
3 min read
New travel restrictions will require unvaccinated Americans to face additional testing
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Unvaccinated Americans flying back to the U.S. will be subject to stricter reentry testing requirements starting in early November, the Biden administration announced Monday, Sept. 20, as part of the administration's plan to reopen U.S. borders to international travelers.

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"Today, the President is announcing that beginning in early November, the United States will be putting in place strict protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from passengers flying internationally into the United States, by requiring that adult foreign nationals traveling to the United States be fully vaccinated," a White House official said via email. "This policy means that we will be replacing the current ... travel policies for individual countries with a new global system as of early November, and will be moving to a consistent, stringent requirement for all international air travelers coming to the United States."

Specifically, all foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. will need to show proof of full vaccination before boarding a flight to come to the U.S. All travelers, including fully vaccinated American citizens, will be required to show results of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure to the U.S.

Although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will "continue to strongly recommend against air travel by Americans who are not fully vaccinated," they will allow unvaccinated Americans to return to the U.S. by providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within one day of departure, in addition to providing proof that they have purchased a viral test to be taken after arrival.

"CDC will also issue a Contact Tracing Order that will require airlines to collect comprehensive contact information for every passenger coming to the United States and to provide that information promptly to CDC upon request, to follow up with travelers who have been exposed to COVID-19 variants or other pathogens," the White House official said. "These requirements will apply globally."

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Today's announcement is part of the lifting of former President Donald Trump's travel ban which closed U.S. borders to nonessential international travel for the past 18 months, including from the European Union, despite the EU welcoming back vaccinated Americans in June. November will mark the first time international travelers are allowed back to the U.S. for tourism since March 2020.

During a press briefing on Sept. 20, White House press secretary Jen Psaki did not specify what vaccines will be accepted nor how proof of vaccination will work, but said she expects that information to be available "as part of the implementation of the process in early November."

Read more: US will allow vaccinated British, EU travelers from November

Featured image by AFP via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
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  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees