The Biden administration is taking the first steps toward requiring nearly all foreign visitors to the US to be vaccinated for the coronavirus, a White House official says.
The requirement would come as part of the administration’s phased approach to easing travel restrictions for foreign citizens to the country.
No timeline has yet been determined, as inter-agency working groups study how and when to safely move toward resuming normal travel.
Eventually, all foreign citizens entering the country, with some limited exceptions, are expected to need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the US.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the policy under development.
The Biden administration has kept in place travel restrictions that have severely curtailed international trips to the US, citing the spread of the Delta variant.
Under the rules, non-US residents who have been to China, the European Schengen area, Britain, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa and India in the prior 14 days are prohibited from entering the US.
All travellers to the US, regardless of vaccination status, are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of air travel to the country.
The Biden administration has faced pressure to lift some restrictions from affected allies, the air travel industry and families who have been kept separated from loved ones by the rules.
Many have complained the travel restrictions do not reflect the current virus situation, particularly as US caseloads are worse than in many of the prohibited nations.