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US Lifts Covid-19 Travel Ban

The MU has recently learnt via their friends at Tamizdat that the White House will be easing Covid-19 travel restrictions to the US.

Published: 24 September 2021 | 3:43 PM Updated: 30 September 2021 | 12:35 PM
Photograph of a person with red hair, wearing a pink mask and pink earphones in front of a pink background.
Given so many in the UK have had the Astrazeneca jab we hope that the US will recognise its efficacy. Photo credit: Shutterstock

The restrictions are due to be lifted in early November, giving musicians who wish to start touring in the US again a green light to begin the process, provided they have had the right jab!

Tamizdat have told us the following:

“The new rules will allow vaccinated foreign nationals to travel, provided they can show proof of being fully vaccinated, take a pre-departure Covid-19 test within three days of their flight, and show proof of a negative result before boarding.

“This forthcoming policy will likely replace the current need for National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) for most fully vaccinated travellers from the UK, Ireland, Schengen Area, China, Brazil, Iran, South Africa, and India.

We are not yet out of the woods yet

We don’t know yet which vaccines will be accepted. It is likely that only people with the full series of CDC-approved vaccines will be allowed to travel freely to the US – Moderna (two doses), Pfizer-BioNTech (two doses), and Johnson & Johnson / Janssen (one dose). It is unclear what will be required of the millions of people who have received AstraZeneca and other vaccines, or have only received a partial dose.

US consulates will continue to struggle with delays. US consulates and embassies around the world continue to function at reduced capacities due to staff shortages and the crisis in Afghanistan. Many consulates are not scheduling regular visa interviews until spring 2022, so while clients may be able to schedule expedited appointments, they should anticipate visa interview delays of as much as three months.

US consulates may continue to enforce the “Extreme Vetting” DS-5535 form. Created by the prior administration, the “extreme vetting” protocols have not been rescinded by the new administration and continue to be applied in an arbitrary fashion, primarily against individuals from the Global South. Clients who fit within its profile demographic – young, male, from the Global South – should anticipate significant delays of as much as two months in the issuing of visas.

O and P petition processing may experience significant delays. While the elimination of the travel bans is great news for the performing arts as many more international artists will now be able to begin touring again in the US, and the petition part of the US visa process has been largely unaffected by the COVID crisis, it is very likely that the current 1-2 month processing time may increase significantly as demand for O and P visas increases in coming months. It is also important to remember that the Premium Processing fee for expedited processing was increased from $1440 to $2500, which makes it all the more important to file petitions early. “

Dave Webster Live Performance Organiser for the MU said:

“This is a welcome step in the right direction. Given so many in the UK have had the Astrazeneca jab we hope that the US will recognise the efficacy of that and open up even further. It remains however that anyone wishing to apply for an O or a P visa is well advised to start early, which is further complicated by the uncertainty around the Astrazeneca vaccine.”

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