August 19, 2022

Latest COVID-Related Guidance on Travel to and from the United States

Despite how far we’ve come since 2020, there is still a constantly changing landscape for COVID-related travel restrictions. If you have employees to relocate, you need the latest information prior to planning any international moves. Sterling Immigration offers our current guidance as follows:

Before Departing the U.S.

It is recommended to be fully aware of the COVID-19 requirements at destination as they may differ from U.S. requirements. You or your employees can find country-specific guidance on the CDC website. Failing to follow your destination’s requirements can result in denial of entry.

Per CDC guidance, employees should refrain from traveling if they have COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19, are awaiting results of a COVID-19 test, or have had close contact with a person with COVID-19 and are recommended to quarantine.

COVID-related travel restrictions keep changing - see our current guidance in this blog

Vaccination Requirements to Enter the U.S.

As of June 12, 2022, the CDC is no longer requiring air passengers traveling from a foreign country into the U.S. to show a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19.

U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents1 and Nonimmigrants2 flying into the U.S. will be required to provide contact information to their airline before boarding a flight to the United States.

Nonimmigrants entering the U.S. through air, land or ferry must be fully vaccinated, with limited exceptions. A person is considered fully vaccinated:

    • 2 weeks (14 days) after an accepted single-dose vaccine
    • 2 weeks (14 days) after a second dose of an accepted 2-dose vaccine
    • 2 weeks (14 days) after receiving the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine in a clinical trial
    • 2 weeks (14 days) after receiving 2 doses of any “mix and match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart

Accepted COVID-19 vaccines include the following:

    • Single dose: Janssen/J&J and Convidecia (CanSinoBIO)
    • 2-dose series: Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech); Spikevax (Moderna); Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca); Covaxin; Covishield; BIBP/Sinopharm; CoronaVac (Sinovac); Nuvaxovid (Novavax); Covovax; and Medicago (clinical trial vaccine)

Accepted proof of COVID-19 vaccination must have personal identifiers (full name plus another identifier such as date of birth or passport number), name the official source who issued the record, and list the vaccine manufacturer and date(s) of vaccination. Accepted proof of COVID-19 vaccination includes the following:

    • Verifiable records (digital or paper): vaccination certificate with QR code or digital pass via smartphone application with QR code
    • Non-verifiable paper records: printout of COVID-19 vaccination record or COVID-19 vaccination certificate issued at a national or subnational level or by an authorized vaccine provider
    • Non-verifiable digital records: Digital photos of vaccination card or record, downloaded vaccine record or vaccination certificate from an official source

Individuals exempted from these requirements include the following:

    • Persons on diplomatic or official foreign government travel
    • Children under 18 years of age
    • Persons with documented medical contraindications to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine
    • Participants in certain COVID-19 vaccine trials
    • Persons issued a humanitarian or emergency exception
    • Persons with valid visas [excluding B-1 (business) or B-2 (tourism) visas] who are citizens of a foreign country with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability (See list effective as of April 14, 2022)
    • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces or their spouses or children (under 18 years of age)
    • Sea crew members traveling pursuant to a C-1 and D nonimmigrant visa
    • Persons whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, Secretary of Transportation, or Secretary of Homeland Security (or their designees)

In order to expedite the inspection process, the Department of Homeland Security is encouraging travelers arriving or departing the U.S. to use Simplified Arrival or Mobile Passport Control, which can make the inspection process touchless and more expedient with the use of facial comparison technology.

Contact Sterling Immigration a collaboration with Graham Adair for support in navigating immigration as you relocate your employees.

Sterling Lexicon brings our caring and personalised approach to your relocation programme needs, while Graham Adair has the experienced, helpful, and dedicated team to deliver visa and immigration expertise and compliance. See our inbound-U.S. Immigration support services at U.S. Visa and Immigration.

1 Lawful Permanent Residents are those who have gone through the process of adjusting status from nonimmigrant to immigrant, or who have entered the United States with an immigrant visa. These are individuals who hold valid green cards.

2 Nonimmigrants are individuals who have entered the United States in a temporary status, either as workers or visitors. Common nonimmigrant statuses include: H-1B, L-1, TN, O-1, B-1, B-2, and J-1. Some nonimmigrant statuses are considered “dual intent”, which means the person can be in a nonimmigrant status while pursuing immigrant status (green card) without violating the terms of their immigration process.


Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over fifteen years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends, and currently serves as a member of the Worldwide ERC (WERC) Immigration Advisory Council.

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