The winter holidays are quickly approaching, and many people are
planning to travel. Whether you’re traveling for business or
vacation, there are important requirements to consider before you
leave. Although COVID-19 restrictions are not as stringent in many
places this year, many countries still have some travel policies
and entrance requirements in place. Knowing what restrictions and
requirements are in place for your destination can save time and
reduce the stress associated with traveling across borders.
Below are some critical tips for your holiday travel. While this
information is a general overview of current COVID-19 restrictions
and preparation for travel, don’t hesitate to contact your
immigration team for personal assistance and more details.
U.S.: COVID-19 Entry Requirements for International
Vaccinated Status:?As of June 12, 2022,
vaccinated foreign national travelers entering the U.S. by air are
no longer required to take a COVID-19 test or show negative
COVID-19 test results before departing to the U.S. The order
applies to travelers aged two and older who are entering the U.S.
from another country. Individuals who are not legal permanent
residents (LPRs), U.S. nationals or U.S. citizens can only enter
the country if they are fully vaccinated, with limited exceptions.
Entry restrictions are still in effect for people entering the U.S.
by land and ferry.
Please see our latest update on COVID-19 travel
requirements for inbound travel to the U.S.
North America: COVID-19 Travel Updates
In 2022, COVID-19 travel protocols were reduced across North
America. On Oct. 1, 2022, Canada eliminated all its COVID-19 entry
requirements. Travelers are no longer required to provide proof of
vaccination, quarantine or isolate, monitor signs and symptoms of
illness and submit health information to the government. The
protocols also apply to ferry passengers.
Please see our corresponding post for full
Although COVID-19 requirements changed in 2022 for some
travelers, others are still subject to more stringent policies. The
information below will assist travelers who do not otherwise meet
the travel exemptions.
- Proof of Vaccination:? Individuals who are not
LPRs, U.S. nationals or U.S. citizens, traveling to the U.S. by
air, are required to show proof of being fully vaccinated against
- Accepted Vaccines:? The CDC has determined
that for travel to the U.S., accepted vaccines will include
FDA-approved or authorized and World Health Organization (WHO)
emergency use listed (EUL) vaccines. Individuals will be
considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receipt of the last
dose of the vaccine.
- Enhanced Testing:? Some travelers must produce
a negative COVID-19 test result, with a test taken within three
days of travel. A negative COVID-19 test, taken within one day of
departure, may be necessary for unvaccinated U.S. citizens and
- Requirements for Children:? Children under 18
are exempt from the vaccination requirement for foreign national
travelers, but children between the ages of two and 17 must take a
pre-departure test regardless of vaccination status. Children under
age two are exempt from testing requirements. If traveling with a
fully vaccinated adult, an unvaccinated child can test three days
before departure (consistent with the timeline for fully vaccinated
adults). If an unvaccinated child travels alone or with
unvaccinated adults, they will have to test within 24 hours of
Limited Exceptions to Vaccine Requirements:
- Children under 18 (see above).
- Specific COVID-19 clinical trial participants.
- Travelers with medical contraindications or reactions to the
- Travelers issued a humanitarian or emergency exception (via a
U.S. government-issued letter).
- Travelers entering?on non-tourist visas from countries with
low-vaccine availability (as determined by the CDC).
- U.S. Armed Forces or their spouses or children (under 18).
Travelers who receive an exception and intend to stay in the
U.S. for more than 60 days will generally be required to attest
they will comply with applicable public health requirements,
including, with minimal exceptions, a condition that they are
vaccinated in the U.S.
Travel Across Canada/Mexico Land Borders or Ferry
- Canada has lifted all COVID-19 entry restrictions
- Proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test result is no
longer required to enter Canada for air and ferry passengers
- Fully vaccinated foreign nationals with an approved CDC or WHO
COVID-19 vaccine will be allowed to enter the U.S. through a Canada
or Mexico land border/ferry crossing
Exceptions:? With limited exceptions,
unvaccinated foreign nationals may not enter the U.S. through a
Canada or Mexico land border/ferry crossing.
Essential travel is not subject to vaccination requirements.
Make Sure Your Documents Remain Valid
Passport:? For U.S. inbound travelers, make
sure your passport is valid for at least as long as the validity
period on your Form I-797 Approval Notice (six months beyond that
date if the country issuing the passport is not on the six-month club list. If not, your I-94
expiration when re-entering the U.S. will match your passport
expiration date (meaning, your period of stay in the U.S. will be
Visa Stamps:? For most non-immigrant workers,
you will need a valid visa stamp for the appropriate non-immigrant
category in your passport to re-enter the U.S.
Book your visa appointment via the ?DOS website ?before you depart the
U.S. Complete your DS-160 online before booking your travel to
determine the availability of visa appointments. Most U.S.
consulates worldwide are beginning to resume operations at
pre-pandemic capacity, but you should check with the consulate at
your chosen destination to find out what services are
Note that some consulates may still have longer wait times for
visa appointments even if they have continued partial or complete
I-797 Approval & Petition:? If you are in
the U.S. on a non-immigrant employment-based petition, make sure
you have your most recent original non-immigrant petition approval
notice – aka the “Form I-797 Approval Notice.” Be
sure also to have the necessary supporting documents.
L-1 Blanket Petition Applicants: You will need
to present your original Form I-129S endorsed by an immigration
Proof of Continuing Employment:? Bring copies
of your three most recent paystubs and/or an Employment
Verification Letter from your HR to show continued employment in
Permanent Residents/Permanent Residence Applicants
Make sure that you have your Green Card with you and that it is
unexpired and undamaged.
If your Green Card/Adjustment of Status Application is pending,
you should have your valid Advance Parole document or a valid
non-immigrant visa to re-enter the U.S.
If you have a pending advance parole application, it is
recommended that you wait for it to be approved before traveling
internationally, as the advance parole application may be denied if
you depart the U.S. while it is still pending.
Transiting Through Other Countries or Regions
If you must transit through another country to get to your
destination (e.g., layover), ensure that you have the required visa
and documents applicable to the transiting country. If you have any
questions regarding the country’s visa requirements that you
will be transiting through, please get in touch with your
immigration team for assistance.
Plan Extra Time for Travel Delays
International travel can incur many unexpected delays. Add extra
time to cover increased wait times for customs inspection, security
checkpoints, COVID-19 screenings and other related procedures.
Plan for potential delays and arrange travel that is refundable
or can be rescheduled if needed. Let your HR manager know of delays
When You Return to the U.S.
Questions from U.S. Customs:? If you are
stopped or questioned by U.S. Customs officers, U.S. immigration
officials, or other Port of Entry/Airport personnel, be
cooperative, listen carefully to any questions asked, and answer
clearly and concisely. Be ready to answer questions on your
immigration status, such as the following:
- Who is your employer?
- What is your job title?
- What do you do in the U.S.?
- How long do you plan to stay?
You should review the job details listed in your most recently
filed petition so you are prepared to answer these questions. You
can check with your immigration team before you depart if you have
any questions about how your job details appear in your petition.
If you do not know the answer to an officer’s question, it is
okay to say so. It is better to answer truthfully than make up an
answer that can become problematic later.
Arriving at a U.S. Entry:? You do not have the
right to an attorney when at a Port of Entry or Preflight
Inspection Facility. However, immigration officials are generally
reasonable and understanding and may allow you to contact your
immigration counsel for assistance.
Provide Your I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.?Once you have
returned to the U.S., remember to:
- Check your I-94 Arrival/Departure Record online:?https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov?> Get Most
- Confirm that your information is correct and that you were
given the right status and duration of time.
- Upload your and your dependent family members’ I-94
record(s) (and visas if you secured new ones) to your ?Envoy Web Portal? after each
By following these steps, you will ensure that your U.S.
immigration status is adequately monitored and maintained.
Safe travels and happy holidays from the Envoy
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.