“Travel ban”: vaccinated Europeans will soon be able to travel to the United States

Posted on Sep 20, 2021 3:59 PMUpdated Sep 20, 2021, 4:18 PM

Europeans will once again be able to travel across the Atlantic. The White House is due to announce on Monday that the United States will authorize entry into their territory from November for travelers from the European Union and the United Kingdom, assures the “Financial Times”. The measure will however be reserved for fully vaccinated travelers.

The “travel ban” was introduced in March 2020 by Donald Trump due to the pandemic, and renewed by Joe Biden upon his arrival at the White House. Until now, it prohibits any non-American traveler or permanent resident (green card) from entering the United States if they have stayed in the Schengen area or in the United Kingdom during the fourteen days preceding their arrival.

A measure which de facto prohibits the entry of tourists, and that of most foreigners working in the United States with a work visa. The latter, to go to Europe and return to the United States, often had the only solution to spend two weeks in a country not concerned by the “travel ban”, such as Mexico. Some visa categories have also been able to request a laissez-passer to enter the United States, the NIE (“National interest exception”).

Subject of diplomatic litigation

Over the months, the case has become a subject of diplomatic dispute between Washington, Brussels and London. The easing comes, symbolically, on the eve of the UN General Assembly in New York, and in the midst of a crisis with Paris over the Australian submarine affair.

The White House ruled in the spring that contaminations were much too high within the European Union to change its health policy, before the Delta variant froze the rules again this summer. Europe, which had opened its borders to Americans in June, whether they were vaccinated or not, had hoped in vain for a measure of reciprocity. Brussels has repeatedly expressed its discontent, and finally decided after the tourist season to close its borders to the Americans.

The entry ban on the territory has always been justified by the White House by the desire to follow “science” and the recommendations of its health authorities. A speech that is all the less justified since the vaccination rate in the United States is now much lower than in the European Union.

The measure has been awaited for months by the travel and tourism industry. This movement restriction has also slowed down the issuance of work visas in the United States, with American embassies only issuing these sesames, with exceptions, to people who can benefit from an NIE.

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