The White House has announced that it will end vaccination requirements for international travellers, starting May 11, 2023, just in time for summer peak travel.
The move is expected to facilitate US travel for Canadian citizens and residents, especially those who make regular trips south of the border, and also signals the conclusive end of widespread travel restrictions of the pandemic era.
US to End COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement
If you’ve been to the US the past year or so, you’ll notice that the country has largely dropped its pandemic measures. Like Canada, you’d see few people with masks on, and there have been no capacity restrictions imposed.
While the US has long been in a post-pandemic state, it has nevertheless retained its vaccination requirements for foreign travellers, including Canadians. However, you might not have noticed this, because these vaccination requirements have rarely been checked by airlines and border officers, if at all.
Officially, foreign travellers who are entering or transiting the US by air have needed to present a certificate of vaccination recovery. Soon, however, this requirement will be formally abolished, and you’ll be able to travel to the US without having to show proof of vaccination.
In addition to the 50 US states, this directive also extends to US territories, such as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands.
Scrapping this requirement will be mutually beneficial for travellers on both sides of the border, as Canada has always been the United States’ top source of inbound visitors – 20.72 million travellers from Canada crossed into the US in 2019 alone.
The End of COVID-19 Travel Restrictions
Despite being one of the first countries to declare that the “pandemic is over”, the US has actually been one of the last holdouts in lifting its vaccination requirements.
Most countries around the world no longer impose any pandemic restrictions, thanks to high rates of vaccinations and low counts of COVID-related hospitalizations.
Even countries and territories that had practically cloistered themselves up during the pandemic, such as Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea, have since scrapped all COVID requirements, including pre-departure testing and proof of vaccination – so it’s great to see the US finally catching up to the world at long last.
The White House has announced that the US is ending its vaccination requirements for foreign air travellers as of the end of the day on May 11, 2023.
Going forward, there’s no longer any need to prepare your vaccination certificate when you travel to the US, although this requirement was already very loosely enforced in recent months anyway.
Since the US was one of the last holdouts in terms of COVID-related travel restrictions, this move signals a very welcome end to the era of widespread travel restrictions that defined travel in 2020–2022.