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U.S. sets Nov. 8 for border re-opening



The re-opening date has now been set for November 8, fulfilling the original pledge of 'early November.' Other details still remain to be set.

With the 'early November' date for re-opening the U.S. to vaccinated international visitors drawing closer, more information—including extending the opening to land borders with Canada and Mexico—is coming out, but not yet enough to answer all questions, including whether the opening will be delayed by preparations.

Crossing the land borders will follow roughly the same rules as those being set for air travel: Proof of vaccination, a negative test no within 72 hours before travel, and providing information for an as-yet-unimplemented track-and-trace plan. The rules will apply to U.S. residents as well, although unvaccinated residents can still return home, but under stricter testing rules.

Among the questions that have now been answered is what vaccines will be accepted, significant because many in Europe, the UK and elsewhere have gotten the AstraZeneca vaccine, not yet submitted for approval in the U.S. The U.S. has now said it will accept any vaccine approved by the World Health Organization, which includes the AZ vaccine as well as two Chinese vaccines.

Not yet clear, however, is how vaccination will be verified. Europe and the UK have digital apps that verify vaccination using a QR code that can be scanned at airports, restaurants, etc., but the U.S. does not, and has not said whether it will acquire the app to scan those codes. In the U.S., only two states and a handful of private operations like Clear have provided digital proofs, and so far, airports have mainly relied on the hand-written paper CDC vaccination cards.

That may mean that travelers from Europe and elsewhere will have to print out the paper versions of their passes for inspection, a process that has caused delays and confusion at European airports. The EU and UK just announced earlier this week that their digital passes will now be mutually compatible.

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A print-out (or at least a downloaded copy) of the vaccination certificate is always a good idea, anyway - as was demonstrated in England this week when they were experiencing 'network problems'. On our recent travels we have always carried a folder containing hard copies of all the relevant documentation.

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