U.S. Tightens Travel Rules
In addition to last week’s announcement of travel restrictions affecting 8 African countries, today, President Biden announced additional new rules as the U.S. confronts the new Omicron variant and the potential of a winter surge.
The administration shortened the time frame for travelers to the U.S. to take a Covid-19 test to within 24-hours before departure, regardless of vaccination status. The new testing rules are expected to take effect next week. This new policy leaves would-be travelers nervously calculating whether they will get test results in time to make their flights and worrying whether there will be more rules imposed while they are abroad. A lack of certainty is keeping many people from traveling abroad.
The U.S. stopped short of imposing a mandatory seven-day quarantine on arrivals. It also did not upgrade its standard for an acceptable Covid screen from an antigen to a P.C.R. test, which take longer to produce results.
For foreign nationals traveling to the U.S., Covid continues to cause difficult to foresee challenges. In addition to the challenge of finding available visa appointments, several clients with visa appointments in India received cancellation notices this week, presumably due to Omicron variant. As such, even for those who were fortunate enough to secure a visa appointment, keeping the appointment is not guaranteed.