North Texas Families Prepare for New International Travel Vaccine Rules

The new guidelines go into place Nov. 8

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New vaccine rules for international travelers entering the United States will go into effect in less than a week. And already, some North Texas families are preparing to reunite in the weeks and months ahead.

Ruby Bhandari said she and others are making sure their families back in India will be ready.

“You better have your T’s lines and your I’s dotted because there’s a lot of red tape now to travel,” Bhandari said.

Starting Nov. 8, international travelers flying into the United States will enter under new guidelines. All adult foreign national travelers must show proof they’ve been fully vaccinated as well a negative COVID-19 test from within three days of boarding a flight.

Fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents must provide a negative COVID-19 test within three days of departure as well -- one day if they are not vaccinated.

Bhandari, a boutique owner, said Indian weddings are booming ahead of the holidays. Planners now bear the burden of relaying important messages concerning COVID-19 regulations.

“So, this coordinator has this extra job now of sending a message with a list of things to do for every single person coming in from out of town,” she said.

While the rules feel like a burden for some, the excitement is building -- so much that social media groups have formed.

“There are different groups that actually talk about these things,” Bhandari said. “Indians in Dallas, Indians in Fort Worth, Indians in DFW, Indians in Chicago. Where everyone is beautifully sharing information.”

She said the goal now is to make sure no one is left in the dark and families can ultimately reunite.

“Getting to see your parents and your siblings is the biggest prize,” Bhandari said.

There are exceptions to the travel guidelines, such as vaccine allergies and humanitarian emergencies.

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