‘New federal travel policy does not affect Korea travel bubble’

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The new federal air travel policy that requires all foreign national travelers to be fully vaccinated before entering the United States, including the CNMI and Guam, will have no impact on the Saipan-South Korea travel bubble program, according to the Marianas Visitors Authority.

In a short statement from MVA board chair Viola Alepuyo, she said the new requirement does not affect the CNMI’s travel bubble program because all travelers under the program are already required to be fully vaccinated before coming to the CNMI, on top of providing negative COVID-19 test results prior to boarding their flights.

In addition, upon arrival, these passengers are tested again before being transported to Kensington Hotel Saipan, one of MVA’s hybrid quarantine facilities, where they will remain quarantined for five days while they wait for their results.

According to Saipan Tribune archives, effective Nov. 8, the U.S State Department implemented a new international travel policy where foreign national air travelers to the United States are required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to fly to the United States, with 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 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.

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

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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