U.S. ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
New Entry Requirements
Starting November 8, 2021, it will be easier for foreign travelers to enter the U.S. Instead of the current country-by-country approach, the U.S. is implementing a vaccine mandate for international visitors. Requirements are as follows:
- Vaccination Requirement: Foreign travelers 18 years or older must be fully vaccinated with a World Health Organization-approved vaccine. At this time, minors below the age of 18 do not need to be vaccinated as vaccine availability is still limited in many countries. Airlines are responsible for verifying that the arriving passengers have their final approved dose at least 14 days prior to entering the U.S. The carrier will deny boarding privileges without sufficient proof of vaccination or a valid exemption.
- Qualifying Vaccine Exemption: Age-eligible travelers that have a qualifying vaccine exemption (i.e., recent recovery from COVID-19) may be able to enter, but will need to provide proof of exemption. They will also need to submit a negative test result within 24 hours of departing.
- Negative Entry Test: All incoming visitors or returning U.S. residents must have a negative pre-travel test result no sooner than 72 hours before arriving in the U.S. Airlines will also gather the test results and are likely to deny a passenger to board without sufficient proof of vaccination and diagnostic testing.
- Travel Health Forms: Even in pre-pandemic times, international visitors filled out an entry form to complete the customs process. Now, the form can include the traveler’s lodging details and contact information. Airlines and government health officials may use this data to contact a traveler if they have been potentially exposed to a positive case.
Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
A U.S. visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port of entry and request admission into the U.S. from a U.S. Immigration Inspector.
Travelers from 35 countries in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) may be able to visit the U.S. for tourism or business purposes for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. For information, visit the Visa Waiver Program website. Please note, however, that many countries participating in the VWP are currently subject to the COVID-19 travel restrictions mentioned above.
If you are eligible to travel under the VWP, you must have a machine-readable passport and are subject to enhanced security requirements. You must apply online for authorization by going to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization website. The Department of Homeland Security recommends that travel authorization applications be submitted at least 72 hours prior to travel.
Applying for a Visa
If you are from a country that does not participate in the VWP, you will need to apply for a visa and make an appointment with your U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a visa interview as soon as possible.
Advance travel planning and applying for your visa early are essential to receiving your visa in time, since visa applications are subject to a greater degree of scrutiny now than in the past. The timeframes for visa processing today are difficult to predict with accuracy for any individual applicant and could vary significantly by country.
We recommend all travelers consider the following when making plans to travel to the U.S.:
- Apply at the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate at least 5 months before intended travel.
- Check online for the visa appointment wait times.
- Be accurate and specific in completing your application. Avoid mistakes. If needed, attach an explanation letter.
- Attach evidence of your previous visits to the U.S.
- Attach evidence of your intended return trip to your home country.
- Acquire a police clearance, if possible.
- Bring all documentation proving that you have binding or sufficient social and economic ties to your home country or permanent residence abroad. Suggestions include:
- past visas
- bank accounts
- professional position
- employment (contract or letter from your employer specifying length of employment, position, and salary, for example)
- home and property ownership
- marriage license
- the entire trip itinerary, including travel to countries other than the U.S.
- If appropriate, bring copies of correspondence confirming you are:
- presenting a paper
- speaking at the meeting
- receiving an award or grant
- Bring your letter of invitation from AACC.
ENTRY TO THE U.S.
A Visa only allows you to travel to the U.S. You still have to establish your admissibility to the satisfaction of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer at your point of entry. Please visit the following websites for more information:
Be prepared to allow inkless fingerprinting and digital photographs upon entry to the U.S.