Vaccine, booster and travel guidance for people vaccinated against COVID-19 outside of the United States

(Updated 3/8/2022, 5:35pm: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued vaccination requirements for entry into the U.S. It is the Department of Homeland Security that issued the requirements.)

For many who travel to and from the United States, whether they are seasonal migrant workers or frequent business flyers, entering the country isn’t as straight forward as it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Homeland Security has issued vaccination requirements for these groups of people* to enter the U.S., whether they enter by plane, boat or across a land border.

This requirement has posed particular difficulties for migrant agriculture workers who must be vaccinated for their first day on the job but don’t always know what the requirements are, according to Deisy Flores, community health worker and field navigator for the community-based organization Mano a Mano.

“They are often not informed of which vaccines will be accepted in the United States, so when they arrive here, many of them realize that the vaccine they got is not accepted, and they are asked to be vaccinated again with the U.S.-approved vaccines,” said Flores. In addition, vaccines are not as available in some countries, and workers are “surprised to see how fast and easy you can get a vaccine” in Oregon.

So what vaccines can someone receive elsewhere in order to enter the U.S., whether for work or pleasure?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) accepts any vaccine received outside the U.S. that has been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization, as well as one vaccine recently authorized by Canada’s drug regulator, Health Canada. These include:

  • Johnson & Johnson (Janssen)**
  • Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty)
  • Moderna
  • AstraZeneca
  • Covaxin
  • Covishield
  • BIBP/Sinopharm
  • Sinovac
  • Noravax/Covovax
  • Medicago/Covifenz (Canada)

**Single-dose vaccine (the others are two-dose vaccines)

To enter the United States, non-U.S. citizens and others* must be fully vaccinated with the primary series of one of the above vaccines accepted by the CDC. A booster dose is not required for entry into the U.S.

Fully vaccinated means it’s been:

  • 14 days since your dose of an accepted single-dose primary vaccine
  • 14 days since your second dose of an accepted two-dose primary vaccine series
  • 14 days since you received two doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart.

If you* don’t meet these requirements, you are not considered fully vaccinated and cannot enter the United States.

For anyone in the U.S. who initially received some vaccinations outside of the country, understanding what additional doses or boosters you are recommended to receive can be difficult. Check out this two-page infographic below for guidance. (Click the image to enlarge and see both pages.)

image of a chart showing vaccination/booster guidelines for people partially vaccinated outside of the United States.
click to enlarge