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After Months Of Bans, Fully Vaccinated Travelers Will Be Allowed To Fly To The U.S.

Vaccinated travelers will be allowed to fly to the U.S. starting in early November
Vaccinated travelers will be allowed to fly to the U.S. starting in early November

The White House says fully vaccinated international travelers will have to present proof of vaccination and get tested before flying. The policy is slated to take effect in November.

The Biden administration is easing restrictions on foreign nationals wishing to fly to the United States.

Starting in early November, they will be allowed to enter this country if they can show proof that they have been vaccinated for COVID-19 and that they have tested negatively for the virus within three days of their flight.

Jeffrey Zients, President Biden's COVID-19 response coordinator, announced the new policy Monday. It replaces a patchwork of travel bans on travelers, most of which began during the Trump administration.

The travel bans, many in place for well over a year, separated families and negatively affected the tourism industry in the U.S., where international travel is a big part of business. A hashtag, #LoveIsNotTourism, took off on social media, with people advocating for an end to the travel bans, at least for those who are fully vaccinated.

Zients said the Biden administration will be working with airlines in the coming weeks on how to best implement the new procedures. He said travelers will also have to provide their phone numbers and email addresses to allow for enhanced contact tracing.

The new system, Zients said, "allows us to implement strict protocols to prevent the spread of COVID" from passengers flying to the United States.

It does not apply to ground travel from Canada and Mexico.

Unvaccinated Americans will be allowed to travel back to the U.S. but will have to show proof of a negative coronavirus test within one day of their flight.

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NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk. In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies.