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U.S. lifts restrictions for foreign visitors; good news for Memphis tourism

For the first time in nearly 20 months, visitors from more than 30 countries will be allowed to come to the United States

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The United States is lifting restrictions on international travelers.

For the first time in 20 months, people from more than 30 countries will be able to travel to the U.S. beginning Monday.

The prior restrictions prohibited most visitors from the EU, UK, South Africa, India, Brazil, and China from flying into the U.S.

Reopening travel does come with new rules.

Incoming travelers over 18-years-old will have to be fully vaccinated and the vaccines have to be approved or authorized by the FDA or listed for use by the World Health Organization.

Russia's Sputnik vaccine does not currently make that list, meaning anyone vaccinated with it is not authorized to travel to the U.S. 

Countries with low vaccine availability life Afghanistan will be exempt from the vaccination requirements but they have to get permission to visit and agree to get vaccinated within 60 days.

Proof of a negative COVID-19 test will also be required.

The lifting of restrictions is expected to bring a boost in travelers to Memphis.

Pre-pandemic, Memphis welcomed over a million international visitors in 2019, according to Memphis Tourism.

Memphis Tourism's Kevin Kern said two European tour groups are already booked to come to Memphis in late November and early December.

Kern said it's a positive sign of pent-up demand to visit the Bluff City.

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