After a shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the land and air borders of the United States reopened. Fully vaccinated foreign visitors are now allowed in 20 months later. Their restrictions had previously strained diplomatic ties, kept families apart, and seriously impacted tourism.
The ban had been imposed by former president Donald Trump, upheld by Joe Biden, his successor. It was not without criticism and was somewhat symbolic of pandemic upheavals. US neighbors Mexico and Canada as well as the whole of Europe.
US borders were closed in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus globally. The closure happened in March of 2020, effectively barring most of the world from coming in. This included foreign visitors from the European Union, Britain and China, Brazil, and India.
Even overland visitors from Canada and Mexico were barred in order to ensure Americans’ safety. Hundreds of millions of people were affected by the prolonged restrictions both personally and economically.
“It’s been so hard,” 63-year-old Alison Henry told Agence France-Presse (AFP). “I just want to see my son.”
She was separated from her son due to the restrictions, and as soon as they lifted, the British woman flew to reunite with her son who is in New York City.
While it’s been possible to travel from the United States to Europe, it was tricky for foreign US residents with particular visas to reenter the US guaranteed. As a result of the current spike in demand, airlines are starting to use bigger planes and add more transatlantic flights.
US authorities still plan to monitor the vaccination status of travelers and will still require negative COVID-19 tests.