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U.S. to require COVID vaccination on arrival for some foreign nationals with exemptions, memo says By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Afghan refugees walked to board the bus that would take them to Dulles International Airport, Dulles (Virginia, U.S.A), September 1, 2021.

By Andrea Shalal and David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Under new U.S. rules, foreign nationals admitted to the United States on humanitarian grounds, who are not required to have COVID-19 vaccinations, will have to agree to be vaccinated upon arrival, according to a planning document seen by Reuters.

The White House on Monday said it would lift restrictions that bar many non-U.S. citizens from traveling to the United States by air starting in November. Nearly all non-Americans over 12 years old will have to present proof of COVID-19 vaccinations in order to enter the United States.

The planning document stated that children, COVID-19 clinical trial participants and humanitarian exemptions will be exempt from this policy.

The document stated that most people receiving these “very limited” exemptions will need to consent to being vaccinated on arrival. There was no way to know where or how vaccines would be given. Also, it wasn’t clear whether travelers would need to remain in quarantine as they wait for immunity to develop.

White House officials said that the government is working to establish rules for exemptions. They also added that travelers traveling on humanitarian grounds “will need to have a compelling reason” to visit the United States.

Officials from the White House stated, “To the extent that people are fleeing violent conflict, exigent circumstances, or other urgent situations, we will consider” when issuing a humanitarian exemption.

In the document, it said that the Department of Homeland Security (Federal Aviation Administration) and the State Department would work together to “develop the directives and processes” for the implementation of these changes by boarding with airlines or through consular offices.

A government official stated that policies regarding religious exemptions would be determined during this process.

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