US lifts international travel restrictions, hoping for economic boost

After nearly two years, border restrictions on international travel to the United States have been lifted.

People who can show they are fully vaccinated and have a negative COVID-19 test are being welcomed into the country once again.

Chicago-based United Airlines said it is expecting more than 30,000 international inbound passengers, 3,300 of them at O’Hare Airport.

The first international flight arrival Monday was due from Frankfurt, Germany just before 11 a.m.

For some families, the lifting of restrictions means relatives who haven’t seen each other for almost two years can reunite. Business travelers can get back to work in the United States and tourists who just want to get back in the skies are booking trips.


U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimando, who arrived at O’Hare Monday morning, said this is all expected to jumpstart the tourism and hospitality industries across the country.

"You will see significant job creation because of today's announcement. I have been saying today America's open for business again," said Raimondo.

United Airlines President Brett Hart said even with the additional paperwork now required to enter the country, he expects the process of going through customs to move smoothly.

"Over 4.5 million documents have been certified for travelers before they even got to the airports. So they know once they arrive that they have a seamless experience ahead of them," Hart said.

Hart said he also expects a smooth season of holiday travel.

This year, that will once again include travelers from most of Europe, Canada Mexico and other countries.