For foreigners entering the NMI, proof of vaccination now a must

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A new international air policy that requires all foreign national travelers to be fully vaccinated before entering the United States, including the CNMI and Guam, took effect starting last Monday.

According to the U.S State Department’s website, starting on Nov. 8, foreign national air travelers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to fly to the United States, with only limited exceptions. This means foreign nationals are now required to provide their COVID-19 vaccination record before boarding airlines headed for the entire United States.

The State Department website said the new travel policy is stringent, consistent across the globe, and guided by public health.

In a short statement from Commonwealth Ports Authority chair Kimberlyn King-Hinds, she said the rule change shouldn’t come as a shock.

“This should not come as a surprise to anyone. The message from the U.S. President and our governor has always been to get vaccinated for our personal and our community’s protection so that we can start resuming a new normal way of life, which is taking personal responsibility for our health, those we love, and our community by continuing the practice of the 3W’s,” she said.

The new policy means that if you are not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, lawful permanent resident, or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa, you will need to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before you travel by air to the United States from a foreign country.

Some categories of noncitizen, nonimmigrants are exempted from this requirement but, nevertheless, all air passengers aged 2 or older, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, must show a negative result of a COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board any flight to the United States.

To further strengthen protections, unvaccinated travelers—whether U.S. citizens, LPRs, or the small number of excepted unvaccinated foreign nationals—will now need to show documentation of a negative viral test from a sample taken within one day of travel to the United States.

“Those U.S. citizens and LPRs who cannot demonstrate proof of full vaccination will now have to show documentation of a negative test from a sample taken within one day of departure,” the site said.

Fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and LPRs are not exempted from the negative test requirement. However, they are allowed to provide a negative test from within three days prior to boarding their flight.

“U.S. citizens and LPRs who can show they are fully vaccinated, that requirement remains the same—they have to show documentation of a negative test result from a sample taken within three days of travel. That means that all fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and LPRs traveling to the United States should be prepared to present documentation of their vaccination status alongside their negative test result,” said U.S Department of State.

In addition, all air passengers will have to sign an attestation certifying the validity of vaccination and testing, and confirming that their contact information is complete and accurate. Falsifying any information could result in criminal penalties and/or fines.

The CDC has determined that, for the purposes of entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include those FDA approved or authorized, as well as vaccines with an emergency use listing from the World Health Organization.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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