Planning to fly into the U.S.? Here’s what you need to know come November

By Claire Fenton

Less than two weeks before new rules come into effect for international air travel to the U.S., details of what is required for those travellers have now been released.

Under the new policy, which takes effect Nov. 8 at 12:01 a.m. ET, Canadians flying into the U.S., as well as any non-U.S. citizens who are not immigrants to the United States, will need to be fully vaccinated and provide proof.

All travellers will also need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of travel. Children under 2 years of age do not need to undergo a PCR test.

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There are some exemptions for the requirement of two vaccine doses. Children under 18 and people from dozens of countries with a shortage of vaccines will not be blocked entry due to being unvaccinated.

Other exemptions include people who participated in COVID-19 clinical trials, or who had severe allergic reactions to the vaccines.

The government said it will require airlines to collect contact information on passengers regardless of whether they have been vaccinated to help with contact tracing, if that becomes necessary. Airlines that don’t enforce the requirements could be subject to penalties of up to nearly $35,000 per violation.

Read more: Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine passport unveiled for international, domestic travel

Those with mix-and-match vaccines and those who received Astrazenca will be allowed entry, as long as their documentation shows they received their vaccines within the approved time periods.

Unlike Canada, the Biden administration has not proposed a vaccination requirement for domestic travel, meaning flights which never leave the U.S. airspace can have unvaccinated passengers on board.

Travel by land

The new rules are different from those for the land border, which also re-opens Nov. 8 after being closed to Canadians and Mexicans since March 2020.

While only fully immunized travellers will be allowed to drive across, no COVID-19 test is required to do so. Canada still requires anyone entering our country to have a negative COVID-19 test.

Cruise ship requirements 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also extended its protocols for cruise ships by three months. The rules will expire on Jan. 15 and then the industry will move to a voluntary program for cruise companies.

The Framework for Conditional Sailing order was set to expire on Nov. 1, but on Monday the U.S. announced it would remain in place until early 2022.

Cruise ships have only been operating in the last few months after the federal government imposed a no-sail order back in March 2020.

Since then, most cruise lines have required adult passengers to be vaccinated, although the government does not mandate it.

Laziza Lambert, a spokeswoman for the Cruise Lines International Association, said in a statement that, “Cruising has successfully resumed in the United States” with measures that have limited the risk of COVID-19 for passengers and crew members.

She said the CDC announcement shows that the health agency and the Biden administration “recognize the cruise industry’s successful resumption of operations.”

With files from The Associated Press

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