TSA Requires Non-Immigrants To Show Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination Before Entering the United States

November 21, 2022

All foreign non-immigrant nationals must show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 to board flights from a foreign country to the United States. However, this requirement only applies to non-immigrant foreign nationals entering the United States. Non-immigrants are individuals who are:

  • Not US citizens,
  • US nationals,
  • lawful permanent residents, or
  • traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) extended a previous requirement that foreign nationals show proof of vaccination before entering the US that would have expired on November 8, 2022.

Here is the definition of fully vaccinated for this law, the documentation non-immigrants must present as proof of vaccination, and exceptions to the requirement.

To be fully vaccinated, it must have been:

  • “Two weeks (14 days) since a person received one dose of an accepted single-dose-series COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., Janssen/J&J); OR
  • Two weeks (14 days) since a person’s second dose in a 2-dose series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine; OR
  • Two weeks (14 days) since a person received the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine (not placebo) in a clinical trial; OR
  • Two weeks (14 days) since the person received two doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines listed in Table 2 (above) administered at least 17 days apart.”

An individual must wait the entire 14 days after receiving the vaccine; otherwise, the TSA will not consider them fully vaccinated.

Individuals can use a variety of documentation for proof of COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccination records can be verifiable or non-verifiable and digital or paper. These are acceptable forms of documentation:

  • “A verifiable vaccination record, also known as a verifiable vaccination credential, may be paper or digital. It will typically include a QR code (Quick Response code) that links to information confirming the credential was generated from an immunization record in an official database, guaranteeing protection from tampering and that the credential is valid and legitimate.
  • A non-verifiable vaccination record is an official vaccination record not digitally linked to an official database with official immunization records and protected from tampering.
  • All forms of proof of COVID-19 vaccination must have personal identifiers (full name plus at least one other identifier such as date of birth or passport number) that match the personal identifiers on the passenger’s passport or other travel documents.
  • Airlines and aircraft operators must determine when the translation of vaccination documentation is necessary for review.”

Exceptions to the Vaccination Requirement

There are certain exceptions to this vaccine requirement that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established, as listed below.

  • “Persons on diplomatic or official foreign government travel.
  • Children under 18 years of age.
  • Participants in certain COVID-19 vaccine trials.
  • Persons with medical contraindications to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Persons issued a humanitarian or emergency exception.
  • Persons with valid non-immigrant visas (excluding B-1 [business] or B-2 [tourism] visas) who are citizens of a country with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability (Table 4).
  • Members of the US Armed Forces or their spouses or children (under 18 years of age).
  • Sea crew members traveling pursuant to a C-1 and D non-immigrant visa.
  • Persons whose entry would be in the US national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, Secretary of Transportation, or Secretary of Homeland Security (or their designees).”

Businesses need to ensure that non-immigrant employees traveling to the United States have adequate proof of vaccination or documentation to show their exception by this rule to avoid any travel delays.

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