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DHS implements vaccine rules for H-2A workers entering U.S.

by Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association

Posted on Jan 27, 2022 at 0:00 AM

On Jan. 22, the Department of Homeland Security began requiring non-U.S. individuals seeking to enter the United States to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, according to information provided by the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association. These new rules apply to all non-U.S. individuals who are traveling for both essential and non-essential reasons. 

These changes were first announced in October 2021. Since then, there have been extensive efforts by industry associations and congressional offices to have this regulation overturned. While work continues to overturn the ruling, the rule is now being implemented.

This means H-2A workers arriving after Jan. 22 will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. For purpose of entry into the U.S., the only vaccines accepted are those authorized for emergency use or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization, which include Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson

These restrictions are temporary and will remain in effect through April 21, unless amended or rescinded prior to that date.

Non-U.S. individuals traveling to the United States via land ports of entry or ferry terminals, whether for essential or non-essential reasons, must:

• verbally attest to their COVID-19 vaccination status;

• provide proof of a CDC-approved COVID-19 vaccination, as outlined on the CDC website;

• present a valid Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant document, such as a valid passport, Trusted Traveler Program card, or Enhanced Tribal Card; and,

• be prepared to present any other relevant documents requested by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer during a border inspection.

COVID-19 testing is not required for entry via a land port of entry or ferry terminal.

For additional information, Guidance from DHS is provided here.

If GFVGA members have questions or need additional information contact the GFVGA office (706-845-8200) or Chris Butts, Executive Vice President, (706-540-2813). 

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