US drops COVID vaccination requirements for all international travelers and federal workers

by | May 17, 2023 | Firm News

The federal government has announced the conclusion of its COVID-19 vaccination mandates for international travelers and federal workers, coinciding with the conclusion of the coronavirus public health emergency on May 11, according to a statement from the White House on Monday.

In a move to ease pandemic-related travel restrictions, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in February to remove the requirement for COVID-19 vaccination for most foreign air travelers, marking one of the final remaining travel restrictions in place.

While the Biden administration eliminated the COVID-19 testing requirement for air travelers entering the U.S. last June, it maintained the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination requirements for most foreign travelers.

As a result of these changes, Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic, who was previously restricted from participating in certain U.S. tournaments due to his vaccination status, will now be able to freely enter and compete in major American tournaments like the U.S. Open, starting from May 12.

Moreover, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Monday that, beginning May 12, non-U.S. travelers entering the United States through land ports of entry and ferries will no longer be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide proof of vaccination upon request.

Regarding vaccination mandates for federal employees and contractors, the Biden administration’s rules implemented in September 2021, which required approximately 3.5 million individuals to be vaccinated or face disciplinary consequences, have not been enforced for over a year due to several court rulings.

In March, a federal appeals court upheld a decision to block enforcement of the employee vaccine requirement. Additionally, even after a nationwide injunction was lifted in October 2022, the White House advised federal agencies not to enforce the contractor vaccine requirements.