Report: US borders will remain closed to most international travelers

Jul 8, 2021

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The U.S. will not be lifting international travel restrictions anytime soon according to a White House official who spoke to Reuters. The wire service is reporting the Biden Administration is not in any hurry to lift travel restrictions. That’s despite many countries continuing to reopen to Americans.

“The Presidential Proclamations suspending, due to COVID-19, the entry of travelers who have been present in the Schengen Zone, United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, China, Iran, South Africa, and India remain in effect,” a State Department spokesperson confirmed via email.

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Just yesterday, 15 airline industry groups, including Airlines for America, released a policy blueprint regarding the safe reopening of international travel.

“U.S. airlines have been — and continue to be — strong advocates for a risk-based, data-driven approach to safely resuming international travel. We have leaned into science throughout this crisis, and research has consistently determined the risk of transmission onboard aircraft is very low,” A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio said in a statement. “In fact, the Harvard Aviation Public Health Initiative concluded that being on an airplane is as safe if not safer than routine activities such as eating in a restaurant or going to the grocery store. The science is clear — it is time, if not past the time, for the U.S. Government to take action and reopen travel between the U.S. and low-risk countries.”

Read more: Reopening Europe: When can you visit again? A country-by-country guide

Currently, the U.S. prohibits tourists driving from Canada and Mexico through at least July 21, in addition to a ban on all tourists traveling from China, Iran, Europe’s Schengen Area, the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), the Republic of Ireland, Brazil, South Africa and India, as TPG previously reported. However, the EU, the Caribbean and Central America have welcomed back Americans, while most of Asia, Oceania and South America remain closed for now.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Read more: When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

This lack of reciprocity between the U.S. and other parts of the world has continued despite growing pressure from interested parties, including airlines, and now business groups and lawmakers according to Reuters, who also noted that the White House formed interagency working groups in June with the EU, U.K., Canada and Mexico to determine how to safely lift restrictions.

On June 25,  U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said lifting travel restrictions currently imposed on EU citizens would be “premature.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki spoke about the country’s “strong progress” in COVID-19 recovery as its vaccination rollout continues in a press briefing on Wednesday, with an estimated 160 million people to be fully vaccinated by the end of this week.

Related: Secretary of State says US borders will remain closed for EU citizens

Featured photo of departing passengers at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport by Grant Faint/Getty Images. 

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