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Biden administration to require all foreigners entering U.S. to be vaccinated in January

Essential foreign workers will join leisure travelers from other countries in being required to have had Covid shots before they enter the U.S.
Vehicles from Canada line up to enter the United States at the Peace Arch border crossing in Surrey, British Columbia, on Nov. 8, 2021.
Vehicles from Canada line up to enter the U.S. at the Peace Arch border crossing in Surrey, British Columbia, on Nov. 8.Liang Sen / Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images file

The Biden administration is expected to require essential foreign travelers crossing U.S. borders, such as truck drivers and government officials, to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 22, a White House official said Wednesday.

The administration announced this fall that foreigners traveling for leisure who were barred from coming to the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic could enter the country beginning Nov. 8 if they were fully vaccinated, and it said a similar requirement would be extended to essential travelers in January.

The date the requirement for essential non-U.S. travelers would go into effect had previously been unknown.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents will still be allowed to enter the U.S. even if they are not unvaccinated, but they will still need to be tested beforehand.

Unlike international leisure travelers, essential nonresident travelers had been able to enter the U.S. during the pandemic regardless of their vaccination status. The White House delayed the requirement for essential workers to allow more time for them to get vaccinated and to not disrupt trade.

The vaccination requirement will apply to essential foreign workers entering the U.S. by land or ferry. The White House official said that more details would be released in the coming weeks but that the approach would be similar to the one being applied to nonessential foreign travelers.