On May 1, 2023, the White House announced that the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for nonimmigrant international air travelers will end as of the end of the day on May 11, 2023. Implemented in 2021 in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the mandate required all nonimmigrant travelers arriving in the US by air to provide proof of vaccination status to as a condition to entry into the country in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 variants into the US and to allow the US healthcare system time to manage access to care in the event of increased COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Noting that COVID-19 related deaths are down 95%, and COVID-19 hospitalizations are down by 91%, each since January 2021, the White House announcement indicated that “we are in a different phase of our response to COVID-19” compared to January 2021, when the travel vaccination mandate went into effect. The White House’s termination of the international air travel COVID-19 vaccine requirement coincides with the official end to the COVID-19 public health emergency on April 10, 2023.
Correspondingly, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also announced that after May 11, 2023, it will be rescinding its Title 19 restrictions, which required COVID-19 vaccination for non-U.S. travelers entering the country by land border and ferry terminals from Canada and Mexico.
This means that as of May 12, 2023, nonimmigrants traveling to the U.S. by either air, land, or ferry transportation no longer will be required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter the country.
In addition, on January 24, 2023, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that its COVID-19-related Flexibilities would end on March 23, 2023. These flexibilities allowed USCIS to consider what would otherwise be an untimely response to a request or notice received so long as it was received within 60 calendar days after the due date. The end of these accommodations means that after March 23, 2023, any response to a request or notice dated after March 23, 2023, must comply with the deadline requirements outlined in the requests.
Squire Patton Boggs will continue to monitor any information regarding immigration developments and provide updates.