Published On: Tue, Jun 7th, 2022

Which vaccines are Acceptable for US Travel?

I’m sure everyone remembers the 2020 pandemic and how it affected our lives.

How a virus had so much impact on our lives. How many of us lost a lot of friends and family members. How we could not go to work nor concerts. How we dressed in face masks like ninjas.

I mean, it was a lot for most of us. Thank God for the vaccine. We can now live past the pandemic.

The US, like every country in the world, takes the issue of vaccination seriously. The White House issued an official Proclamation stating that international travelers entering the United States after November 8, 2021, will be required to have the Covid 1-9 vaccines. 

In short, before you can gain entry into the US today, you have to be vaccinated against the covid 19 virus. And the vaccines you take must be the ones approved by the FDA or the ones authorized by WHO.

Before we go into the discussion of the acceptable vaccines, there’s something important I’ll like to share with you. It’s the concept of the ESTA. Apparently, many of us still struggle to land a US travel permit. So, before we go into talking about the vaccines you need to be admitted into the US, let’s talk about the visa that will get you there in the first place.


Image/qimono via pixabay

Introducing the concept of ESTA USA Authorization

Well, I will give you a short insight into the ESTA status. It is known in full as the Electronic System for Travel Authorization. It is an authorization permit under the US visa waiver program. And it is used by tourists, businessmen, and people trying to transit through the US for 90 days.

The ESTA status allows certain nationals from certain countries to enter the US. The main idea of the ESTA status is to create an economic relationship with these countries.

The ESTA is online-based, where you will be required to fill out a particular form. You can know your ESTA status in the space of 72-hours.

Do you know what’s more? You can use this ESTA status for two years before another renewal. During this time, you can use the ESTA to come into the US anytime provided you don’t spend above 90- days.

I advise you to start your ESTA application while planning your trip to the US. This is because the procedure takes roughly 72 hours. So, to avoid any disruption in your arrangements, try to get your ESTA application and traveling planning alongside one another.

We must state that the ESTA status does not serve the following purposes; if you are looking to go to the US to work, school, perform as an artist, etc.

You can apply for ESTA by yourself. The process is quite straightforward. But if you have a bit of a problem with some questions, you can ask a travel agent to assist with your ESTA application.

Things that can make you lose ESTA your eligibility may include the following;

  • If you have been arrested before
  • If you have a criminal record
  • If you have a communicable disease like Ebola, Coronavirus, etc.
  • If you have been denied entry into the United States
  • If you have been deported from the United States.
  • If you have previously overstayed a visa or visa waiver.
  • If you have stayed in any of these countries in Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011.
  • If you have dual citizenship with either of these countries, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria.

Your passport also has to have the following:

  1. Passport holder from a VWP country.
  2. A machine-readable passport.
  3. The passport must be valid.
  4. It must be an Electronic Passport.
  5. The passport must carry a Digital photograph

Okay, I think I said enough about the ESTA application. Now I think it’s time for us to talk about the vaccines that are accepted before you can enter the US.

The following are the vaccines you should take before you can be allowed to enter the US;

  • Pfizer-BioNTech is approved by the FDA & WHO
  • Moderna is approved by the FDA & WHO
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), it is approved by the FDA & WHO
  • AstraZeneca Covishield, Approved by WHO
  • Sinovac, Approved by WHO
  • Sinopharm BIBP, approved by WHO
  • COVAX in, approved by WHO

Ensure that you take the following listed vaccines above. The United States health body will not accept any other one. Also, ask your health provider the amount of dose you need to collect.

What’s a Vaccine? 

A vaccine helps to reduce the risks of getting a disease by helping your body build its defenses. Today, we have vaccines that can help prevent close to 20 life-threatening diseases. We can now live longer thanks to these vaccines.

We can also see the vaccine’s impact on the covid-19 virus.

The following is the list of approved vaccines you should take as a traveler. The vaccination comes in two doses, and you should take it before going to the US.

What does it Means to be Vaccinated?

  • That you have taken the two doses of vaccines before traveling.
  • Taking one dose of the vaccine does not mean you have to be vaccinated.
  • You will have to wait for two weeks after the last dose if you want to be considered fully vaccinated.

Note that: all the covid vaccines come in two doses, and you have to take both doses to be granted entry into the US. You will take the first one and then go back after two weeks for the second dose.

Covid Vaccines and the Test Requirement to Enter the US

To enter the United States, you must be completely vaccinated. Here are different steps or procedures you have to take for vaccination.

  •         You have to show proof that you have been fully vaccinated.
  • You must have received the entire series of any of the FDA or approved covid-19 vaccination 14 days before flying to the United States.
  • Those with a World Health Organization Emergency use vaccine listing, according to the CDC, are also allowed to travel. This includes vaccines created by AstraZeneca Plc, Sinopharm Group, etc.
  • If you enter the US without being vaccinated, especially if you are an immigrant, you will have to vaccinate within 60 days of entry and show proof of vaccination.
  • You have to show proof of a negative covid-19 test which must have been done three days before departure
  • The test should be an RT-PCR test. Any other one besides this will not be accepted.
  • Your test must clearly state “Negative,” and it must have your name, address, and passport number on it.
  • All air travelers will be required to show proof of having arranged for Covid-19 post-arrival testing as well as proof of having arranged for full covid-19 vaccination after landing in the US.
  • You will have to agree to be re-tested on your arrival.
  • All air travelers will be required to prove that they plan to self-quarantine or self-isolate immediately after they touchdown in the United States.
  • While in the United States, all international airlines require all passengers to wear a nose mask and an extra shield on the plane, in airports, and in enclosed spaces.
  • Your details will be collected for them to be able to contact you.

Who are the People Exempted From these Requirements?

  • People on diplomatic relations or government officials on an assignment.
  • Children below the age of 18.
  • People with existing medical conditions.
  • If you have participated in covid-19 testing trials.
  • People with a humanitarian or emergency exception.
  • Suppose you have a valid visa and are a citizen of a country with limited Covid-19 vaccines. Examples of countries with limited covid-19 vaccines are Cameroon, Gabon, Burundi, Sudan, Mali, etc.
  • Members of the United States army or their wives and kids.
  • A sea crew member that is traveling with a C-1 and D non-immigrant Visa.
  • Individuals whose admission would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of state, Secretary of Transportation, or Secretary of Homeland security. Objections to vaccination based on religious or moral convictions do not qualify under this or any other exception listed

Also, note that there is no exemption for religious or other moral grounds.

The Requirement for Green Card Holders

The travel ban that is enforced by the US government does not apply to green card holders. Green card holders can enter the US without any reservations as long as they have a negative covid 19 test and are vaccinated 14 days before visiting. They will also have to drop their personal information for contact tracing.

This contact tracing is to contact you in case they need you to isolate yourself from your family as there might be a possibility that you have contracted the virus.

The Requirement for US Citizens Entering the US

Us citizens are not affected by the ban imposed by the US government. They could freely move in and out of the country, despite any ongoing entry ban. However, just like any other traveler, US citizens must be tested at least 72 hours before taking a flight. They will be required to show proof of a negative Covid test both before departure and upon arrival in the United States. While the CDC has not mandated that all US citizens be fully vaccinated before traveling to the US, WHO strongly advises it. If they test negative, US citizens do not need to be quarantined upon arrival.

Author: Uday Tank

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