The White House said Friday it would allow international travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 into the U.S. starting Nov. 8. It's a date thousands of binational families have been eagerly waiting to hear.
Over the last several months, they even launched a social media hashtag, “love is not tourism,” to bring attention to their situation.
San Francisco resident Abbie Gould will be picking up her parents on Nov. 8 at San Francisco International Airport. It will be their first time coming to San Francisco.
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It also will be the first time Gould will see them in more than a year. She even created a countdown for when they arrive at the airport.
"Yeah, I’m super excited,” she said. “We've got 36 days to go, so I’m definitely going to be checking it every day."
Gould’s parents have not been allowed to visit because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Due to Gould’s type of visa to be in the country, she said she wouldn't be able to return to the United States if she flew there to visit.
"Anybody who's on a temporary visa can't go in this situation. I've heard so many horror stories of people leaving the country, not being aware that they're not going to be let back in,” she added.
Earlier this week, President Joe Biden’s administration announced that beginning Nov. 8, fully vaccinated travelers from the United Kingdom, most of the European Union, China, Brazil and India will be able to enter the U.S. without any quarantines.
The borders with Mexico and Canada will also be reopening to fully vaccinated visitors from those countries.
The nearly 21-month-long ban has been a painful one for many binational families, including Connecticut resident Rebecca Lyons. She said the recent announcement meant her new husband will finally be able to see his family for Thanksgiving. His parents missed their wedding this summer.
"We hoped that they would be able to come if we postponed it for a year. But unfortunately they couldn't,” Lyons said.
The FDA confirmed that visitors, who have had full doses of the six approved vaccines from the World Health Organization will be allowed to enter the U.S.
That includes visitors who may have mixed and matched doses of different manufacturers.
The exact details of how airlines and border agents will verify proof of vaccination for visitors are still being worked out. Travelers also will need to show a negative COVID-19 test before flying.
The return of international visitors to the U.S. will no doubt be a boost for tourism, but it will also be a big relief for many families who have been separated for a long time.