Presidential Proclamation 10294 od October 25, 2021, Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic, effective November 8, 2021, revoked the four prior geographic travel ban restrictions that had limited entry from 33 specific countries, and replaced them with a global requirement that "noncitizens who are nonimmigrants" traveling to the United States by air from any part of the world establish that they are fully vaccinated, with some limited exceptions. The proclamation relies on INA 212(f)/8 USC 1182(f) as the statutory authority for the restrictions. That statute provides: "Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate."
A separate CDC order also requires all air travelers (regardless of citizenship) to show results of a negative coronavirus test taken one day preceding their flight's departure from a foreign country traveling to the United States (see details below).
"Noncitizens who are nonimmigrants" who are traveling by air will have to show both the negative COVID viral test and documentation that they are either fully vaccinated or are eligible for an exception to the vaccination requirement.
Entry to the United States through Land or Ferry Ports of Entry
In separate but related announcements (see below), the controls on travel through land ports of entry on the Canadian and Mexican borders have also been modified. Starting January 22, 2022, all noncitizens who are nonimmigrants will be required to show proof that they have been fully vaccinated with an acceptable COVID-19 vaccine under the same vaccine standards as air travelers. Unlike air travel, though, there is not a COVID-19 testing requirement for travelers entering through land or ferry ports of entry.
Proclamation 10294 Section 3(b):
"(iii) any noncitizen for whom, given their age, requiring vaccination would be inappropriate, as determined by the Director of the CDC, taking into account global vaccine availability for individuals in that age group;"
"(v) any noncitizen for whom accepted COVID-19 vaccination is medically contraindicated, as determined by the Director of the CDC;"
"(vi) any noncitizen who has been granted an exception by the Director of the CDC for humanitarian or emergency reasons, as determined by the Director of the CDC;"
The exception at Section 3(b)(iii) would appear to be available to certain unvaccinated minor children under 18 years of age, for example, children of students and scholars coming to the United States in dependent statuses such as F-2, J-2, H-4, etc.
The White House Fact Sheet: Biden Administration Releases Additional Detail for Implementing a Safer, More Stringent International Air Travel System has this to say about the exception for children:
"Requirements for Children:
If traveling with a fully vaccinated adult, an unvaccinated child can test three days prior to departure (consistent with the timeline for fully vaccinated adults). If an unvaccinated child is traveling alone or with unvaccinated adults, they will have to test within one day of departure." [NAFSA note: since the "timeline for fully vaccinated adults has changed from 3 days to 1 day under the CDC's amended order effective December 6, 2021, all unvaccinated children will likely be required to be tested no more than 1 day prior to departure.)
In addition, the 60-day post-entry vaccination requirement of Proclamation 10294 Section 2(c) does not apply to a child under 18 years of age, although children must still "present a completed Excepted Covered Individual Attestation to the airline or aircraft operator prior to embarking an aircraft destined to the United States." See CDC Order Implementing Proclamation on Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
To document medical contraindication as the basis for an exception to Proclamation 10294, CDC FAQs on Exceptions to the Proclamation state:
"What do I need to show if I have a medical contraindication to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?
You must show a letter from a licensed physician documenting the medical contraindication to the airline or aircraft operator before boarding a flight to the United States.
Must have sufficient personally identifiable information (at a minimum full name and date of birth) to confirm that the letter matches with your passport or other travel information.
If your letter is in a language other than English, check with your airlines or aircraft operator to find out if translation of the letter is necessary for their review."
According to CDC FAQs, "there are no exceptions under the Presidential Proclamation and CDC's Order for religious reasons or other moral convictions." Likewise, the CDC Order Implementing Proclamation on Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic states: "Objections to vaccination based on religious or moral convictions do not qualify under this or any other exception listed in the Proclamation or this Order." Students who have received an institutional exemption on these bases for purposes of the school's vaccination requirement should be advised that the school's exemption will not be recognized for purposes of entry to the United States under the proclamation and CDC order.
Nonimmigrants not fully vaccinated who are traveling by air to the United States under one of the Section 3(b) exceptions to Proclamation 10294 of October 25, 2021 (referred to as Excepted Covered Individuals in CDC guidance), are required, under Proclamation 10294 Section 2(c), to "...become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 within 60 days of arriving in the United States, within some other timeframe as determined by the Director of the CDC, or as soon as medically appropriate as determined by the Director of the CDC, and must provide proof of having arranged to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 after arriving in the United States, unless:
(i) the noncitizen's intended stay is sufficiently brief, as determined by the Director of the CDC;
(ii) the noncitizen is one for whom, given their age, requiring vaccination would be inappropriate, as determined by the Director of the CDC;
(iii) the noncitizen has participated or is participating in certain clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccination, as determined by the Director of the CDC [NAFSA note: see CDC Technical Instructions for the list of acceptable COVID-19 clinical trial vaccinations];
(iv) COVID-19 vaccination is medically contraindicated for the noncitizen, as determined by the Director of the CDC [NAFSA note: see CDC Technical Instructions: Medical Contraindication to COVID-19 Vaccination];
(v) the noncitizen is described in section 3(b)(i) or 3(b)(ii) of this proclamation [NAFSA note: these are the exceptions for diplomats and employees of international organizations] and has previously received a COVID-19 vaccine that is authorized or approved by the noncitizen's country of nationality, as determined by the Director of the CDC, in consultation with the Secretary of State; or
(vi) the Director of the CDC otherwise determines that COVID-19 vaccination is not warranted for the noncitizen."
The mechanics and procedures of this post-entry vaccination requirement are not yet available, but the CDC Order Implementing Proclamation on Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic contains attestation and other requirements. CDC has provided a Combined Passenger Disclosure and Attestation that fulfills the attestation requirements of CDC orders.
The CDC states the following on its Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Approved or Authorized in the United States page:
"People who received the first dose of a 2-dose FDA-approved or FDA-authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccine do not need to restart the vaccine series in the United States. They should receive the second dose as close to the recommended time as possible and upon completion of the 2-dose primary series are considered fully vaccinated."
"The following people who received a COVID-19 vaccine that is not currently FDA-approved or FDA-authorized in the United States may be offered a complete FDA-approved or FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine primary series as follows:
People who have received only the first dose of a 2-dose COVID-19 primary series listed for emergency use by WHO.
People who received all or some of the recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine primary series that is not listed for emergency use by WHO.
The minimum interval between receipt of the non-FDA-approved/authorized vaccine and initiation of the FDA-approved/authorized COVID-19 vaccine primary series is at least 28 days."
This would likely be applicable to Excepted Covered Travelers who were either partially vaccinated with a vaccine accepted by the FDA or WHO, or who were vaccinated in whole or in part with a COVID-19 vaccine not accepted by the FDA or WHO prior to being admitted to the United States. Visitors with medical questions regarding vaccination should consult a physician or other appropriate medical provider.