Updated on 30.09.2022

US entry restrictions

Since November 8, 2021 the U.S. has eased entry requirements and travel is possible again with compliance of a variety of COVID-19 and sanitary guidelines. Read below to learn about the implications for travelers, visa applicants, and visa holders when entering the United Staes now.
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In the fight against the spread of the coronavirus and to protect the US labor market, the USA had taken strong measures and imposed an entry ban for the United States from March 13, 2020 to November 7, 2021. Since May 12, 2023, all pandemic-related entry restrictions have been lifted and travel to the USA is once again possible without proof of COVID-19 vaccination or test possible.

NOTE: This article will not be updated. You can find the latest information in our news section.

Who may re-enter the US?

On October 25, 2021, US President Joe Biden signed the decree "A Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic" and with this Presidential Proclamation 10294 replaces the Corona Travel Ban with new uniform rules for all US travelers worldwide from November 8, 2021.

In accordance with the Presidential Proclamation, three regulations issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (U.S Department of Health and Human Services) is subordinate to the law in force:

  1. Global regulation on contact tracing
  2. Amended global test regulation
  3. Regulation for vaccination

Regulations for air travel to the US

Since November 8, 2021, only people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are allowed to enter the United States (with very few exceptions).

All international travelers who can present a complete COVID-19 vaccination certificate will benefit from the travel restrictions – regardless of whether they are traveling on a US visa or under the Visa Waiver Program with an ESTA authorization wish to enter the country.

This means that tourist trips, family visits, transit trips, etc. with a visa or ESTA from the former travel ban countries (Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, Schengen area, United Kingdom) are possible again - corona vaccination and provided.

The US embassies and consulates of the formerly affected travel ban countries have, depending on their capacity, gradually resumed issuing visas for all US visa categories.

Tip: All those who wish to travel to the USA visa-free with ESTA should check whether their ESTA travel authorization is still valid before departure, as some ESTA authorizations have been revoked due to the travel ban.

Regulations for entry by land

Since November 8, 2021, entry by land via Mexico or Canada has also been possible for foreign persons fully vaccinated against COVID-19 possible again - also for Non-Essential Purposes (e.g. tourist entries).
The only exceptions to this rule are currently children under the age of 18, US citizens and green card holders.

The official vaccination status must be confirmed at the border in accordance with the standards of the US health authority CDCas well as a verbal confirmation of the reason for the trip and the accuracy of the information.

This means that entry into the United States - regardless of the reason for entry - will then only be possible for fully COVID-19 vaccinated foreign nationals traveling overland to the USA.

Who is no longer allowed to enter the USA?

Complete COVID-19 vaccination protection

First of all, persons are considered fully vaccinated

  • two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccination series
  • two weeks after a single dose vaccination.

This means that entry is possible from the 15th day after the final dose.

Attention: According to the regulations of the US Food and Drug Administration (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC), COVID-19 recoveries with only one vaccination of a 2-dose vaccine are considered not fully vaccinated. While people who have recovered from corona in several European countries (including Germany) only receive a single dose of vaccine after infection and are considered fully vaccinated with just one dose of vaccine, this practice is not recognized by the CDC. As a result, these individuals will not be able to travel unless they qualify for another exemption.

Approved corona vaccines

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC), only the data provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration FDA for short, as well as those on the emergency list of the World Health Organization, WHO for short, (= WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL for short). These currently include

  • Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty)
  • Moderna (Spikevax)
  • Johnson & Johnson (Janssen)
  • AstraZeneca / Oxford (Vaxzevria and SII / Covishield)
  • Sinopharm (BBIBP-CorV)
  • Sinovac (CoronaVac)
  • Covaxin
  • CanSiniBIO (Convidecia)
  • Novavax/Covovax
  • Medicago (clinical study)

Click here for the list of vaccines approved by the CDC.

According to the US health authority CDC persons with cross vaccinations are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last dose if they have received a vaccine approved by the FDA / WHO mentioned and the second vaccination was given no earlier than 17 days after the first dose (e.g. AstraZeneca / BioNTech).

Proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination

Proof that the COVID-19 vaccination has been completed must be before departure e.g. at check-in or via the respective airline app. This means that checking the vaccination documentation is the responsibility of the Airlines.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has listed exactly which documents are considered proof of vaccination (= Verifiable Vaccination Credential) apply and which proofs are not accepted.

Proof should preferably and usually be provided via a digital vaccination certificate with a QR code (e.g. European COVID-19 vaccination certificate). However, other documents in paper form, such as an official vaccination card or an official certificate (e.g. yellow vaccination card, CDC vaccination certificate, etc.), can also be used as proof.

This proof of vaccination (digital or paper form) must in any case be issued by an official source/authority and contain the name and date of birth of the traveler(s) as well as the vaccine product and the date of administration for all doses received by the traveler(s).

Recommendation: We strongly advise you to check with the airline in advance which documents will be accepted in your specific case. If your vaccination documents are written in a language other than English, we recommend that you check with the airline or aircraft provider before you travel whether a translation is required.

As the airlines are responsible for checking proof of vaccination, according to the current state of knowledge, no proof of vaccination is required as part of the visa application process. At the US border, however, there may be routine checks by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). It is therefore advisable to have the proof ready for border control.


Updated on 30.09.2022