US to relax travel ban for vaccinated EU and UK passengers

The travel policy will change in early November.

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The US will lift travel restrictions on EU and UK visitors who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Passengers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to travel to the US from the EU and UK starting in early November. Travelers entering the US will have to show proof of vaccination and a negative test taken within three days of departure to the US, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters Monday.

Restrictions on people flying from China, India, Iran, Brazil and South Africa will be eased as well, the Associated Press noted.

Unvaccinated Americans returning to the US will apparently need to test within one day of departure, with another test required upon arrival. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also require airlines to hold on to passengers' phone numbers and email addresses for 30 days for contact tracing purposes.

The Transportation Safety Administration will also double fines for people who refuse to wear masks on planes. President Joe Biden will host a summit on COVID-19 on Wednesday, "to rally the world urgently to work towards ending this pandemic as rapidly as possible and building our systems better to be able to handle the next pandemic."

The news comes 18 months after then-President Donald Trump issued a blanket ban on travel to the US from the EU and UK. Under the current policy, only US citizens, their immediate families, green card holders and those with national interest exemptions can travel to the US if they have been in the UK or EU in the previous two weeks.

Biden has been under pressure from European politicians and major airlines to lift the restrictions, as noted by The Wall Street Journal.

The White House didn't respond to a request for comment.

Watch this: Vaccine passports for COVID-19: How they'll be a part of global travel
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