The US is to scrap its longstanding Covid-19 vaccine requirement for
inbound international travellers from 12 May, according to the White
The Biden administration made the long-awaited announcement on Monday
(1 May), which will bring an end to the policy requiring international
visitors to the US to be fully vaccinated against the virus.
This vaccination rule has been in place since October 2021 and was
further extended by the US government at the start of this year.
“We are announcing that the administration will end the Covid-19
vaccine requirements for federal employees, federal contractors and
international air travellers at the end of the day on 11 May, the same
day that the Covid-19 public health emergency ends,” said the White
House in a statement.
US Travel Association president and CEO Geoff Freeman said the end of
the vaccination requirement “eases a significant entry barrier for many
global travellers, moving our industry and country forward”.
“However, the return of international visitors should be as efficient
and secure as possible,” added Freeman. “The federal government must
ensure US airports and other ports of entry are appropriately staffed
with Customs and Border Protection officers to meet the growing demand
UK airline Virgin Atlantic also welcomed the announcement from the
White House at it removed “barriers for frictionless travel” to the US.
“It will give a boost to transatlantic customer demand as a busy
summer approaches,” said a spokesperson. “Virgin Atlantic has now
resumed services to all of its 12 transatlantic destinations, including
new routes to Austin and Tampa and longstanding favourites New York,
Orlando and Los Angeles.”
The White House added that the Health and Human Service and Homeland
Security departments will also be ending their vaccine requirements for
non-citizens arriving at US ports and land borders.