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US to open borders for fully vaccinated travelers


US to open borders for fully vaccinated travelers

Shannon Lin The Atlantic
Image: Shannon Lin/The Atlantic

The US will open its borders for fully vaccinated foreign travelers from the EU’s Schengen zone, Mexico, Canada, Britain, Ireland, China, India, South Africa and Brazil beginning today.

Pandemic-era restrictions on nonessential travel had barred most foreign visitors from entering the US for over 21 months. The new open borders signal’s the government’s confidence in the US’ recovery from the pandemic’s health, economic and political consequences.

The new measures are much needed as the US’ travel sector lost an estimated $500 billion along with thousands of related jobs in 2020. Likewise, the human cost of the closure has been especially profound. While international students were able to enter the US throughout the pandemic, the restrictions excluded foreign individuals with American spouses and those who left to renew visas in their home countries.

With President Biden’s approval rating falling to a record 42.9% low in November and a string of recent Democratic party defeats in state elections, the shift in policy signals an effort to boost confidence in Biden’s Administration. Expect to see increased approval in border towns that rely heavily on land travel to support their economies. Opening the borders has the additional benefit of assuaging international discontent with recent isolationist policies.

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