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The US reopens to international travelers on November 8 — what you need to know

Oct. 15, 2021
5 min read
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Today, the United States announced that it will officially reopen to fully vaccinated travelers on Nov. 8, following the Sep. 20 announcement that the Biden administration would welcome back these individuals sometime in "early November."

Although we now have a confirmed date of Nov. 8, some questions remain regarding acceptable proof of vaccinations and what the entire process will look like. Here's what we know so far about the U.S. reopening.

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The United States is officially reopening on Nov. 8

On Oct. 15, the White House announced its plan to reopen U.S. borders to fully vaccinated international travelers by both land and air on Nov. 8, which the Biden administration said was "putting in place a global international travel policy that is guided by public health, stringent, and consistent."

This is good news for anxious travelers, including Europeans who have eagerly awaited confirmation to go ahead and book travel. British Airways, the European airline with the most flights to the United States, has already seen a huge uplift in new bookings to the U.S. The carrier is even bringing its largest aircraft — the Airbus A380 — out of storage after 18 months to serve U.S. destinations in December, including Miami (MIA) and Los Angeles (LAX).

Which vaccines will be accepted — and how?

Details are expected prior to Nov. 8 regarding what specific vaccines will be accepted for entry to the U.S. — along with the specific types of proof required. For now, we know that all those approved and authorized by the FDA as well as those that have been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for Emergency Use Listing (EUL) will be accepted for air travel. This includes the following:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • AstraZeneca-SK Bio
  • Serum Institute of India

It is not yet known whether other vaccines, such as the Chinese Sinovac or Russian Sputnik V vaccines, will be added to the list.

Unlike the EU Digital COVID Certificate, which seamlessly allows European Union citizens and residents to produce a formal vaccine certificate within seconds through an easy-to-use app, the U.S. has not yet produced a similar digital process to show proof of vaccination.

At this point, we still do not know whether foreign paper vaccine cards or a photocopy of your vaccination record will be accepted for entry.

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This needs to be set before the first European can enter.

Related: Some countries no longer accept paper CDC vaccine cards. Here’s how you can prove vaccination status

Will each state have the same entry requirements?

Another issue is ensuring a consistent nationwide approach to the entry of Europeans. Although local restrictions vary from state to state and city to city, you should expect to show vaccination proof to board a plane to the U.S., regardless of your final destination within the country.

Some states are still taking a very strict approach to issues like mask-wearing, vaccination certificates and indoor capacity limits. This includes cities such as New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles — where proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test is required to enter most indoor spaces like restaurants and bars.

As a result, you will need to verify specific COVID-19 protocols of each city and/or state you intend to visit. That said, since travel is currently restricted to those who are fully vaccinated, proof of inoculation should suffice and trump any testing protocols — which are usually reserved for those who are unvaccinated.

It's also worth noting that traveling within the U.S. will almost certainly be easier than doing so across the European continent. Virtually every single country in Europe has slightly different entry requirements, and there are almost as many countries in Europe as there are states in the U.S.

For example, did you know that even if you are fully vaccinated, to enter Italy you still need to provide a negative antigen/lateral flow test, but entering Spain requires no test? This kind of inconsistency can be very frustrating, but it shouldn't be replicated in the U.S.

Related: The US requires a negative COVID-19 test taken within 3 days to get in the country. But what if your flight is delayed?

Will testing be required?

All travelers to the U.S., including those fully vaccinated, will still be required to show results of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure for the U.S.

Similar testing requirements have remained in place in the U.S. since January 2021 for all incoming travelers to the U.S., including American citizens. Anyone boarding a flight is required to present the results of a negative nucleic acid amplification or antigen test taken within three days of scheduled departure to the United States.

Bottom line

Fully vaccinated Europeans have finally received the long-awaited confirmation of the first date they can cross the Atlantic to the United States after an 18-month ban and we now know that is less than a month away on Nov. 8. Although more details are to come, fully vaccinated travelers can feel confident in booking travel plans to the U.S.

Additional reporting by Caroline Tanner

Featured image by Getty Images/Tetra images RF
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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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
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  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
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  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
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

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • 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.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023