CDC Vaccine Requirements for Foreign Travelers

Applicants must follow these instructions for vaccination, testing, and other infection control practices in order to protect both themselves and U.S. communities.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has been classed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) under the International Health Regulations. Its severity and contagiousness make it a Class A Inadmissible Condition: anyone testing positive for COVID-19 will not be admitted into the United States. In addition, COVID-19 vaccination now meets the criteria for required vaccines for applicants.

If a COVID-19 vaccine listed for emergency use by the WHO or FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) is available to you in the country, you must complete the full vaccine series as well as all other necessary vaccines. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or are a close contact of someone else who does, you must postpone your exam until recovery/quarantine criteria has been met. Even if you do not have symptoms, screening testing for COVID-19 may be required.

You must submit documentation of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine series. Acceptable documentation must come from either a personal vaccination record or a copy of a medical chart with entries made by a physician or other appropriate medical provider. Only records of vaccine doses that include the dates of receipt (month, day, and year) are acceptable. The name or manufacturer and lot number should be included if available. Self-reported vaccine doses without written documentation are not acceptable.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you must complete the required isolation period before returning for your exam even if you receive a negative COVID-19 test result. Until you meet the criteria to end isolation, you will be considered Class A Inadmissible under COVID-19. Lack of COVID-19 vaccination, exposure to COVID-19, or current COVID-19 infection will also make you Class A Inadmissible.

All international air travelers to the United States aged 2 years or older must be tested within 3 days of their flight and show documentation of a negative COVID-19 test result to the airline before boarding. If you have recovered from COVID-19, you will not need to be retested if you travel within 3 months of your positive test and can provide appropriate documentation. If you receive a positive COVID-19 test result from your panel physician, you should be supplied with a copy of the positive test result as well as a medical clearance letter when you have completed isolation.

Close contacts of persons with confirmed COVID-19 are also Class A Inadmissible for COVID-19 exposure until they complete 14 days of quarantine. A close contact is defined by the CDC as any individual who has been within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. 

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