U.S. requiring citizens fleeing Ukraine to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before entering Poland

Unvaccinated Americans are instructed by the State Department to get "a COVID vaccine to facilitate your travel."

Updated: February 13, 2022 - 5:47pm

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The U.S. State Department is requiring American citizens fleeing Ukraine into Poland to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, according to a press release issued Saturday.

U.S. citizens are allowed to enter Poland through its land border with Ukraine, but the State Department says those evacuating "must present a valid U.S. passport and proof of COVID-19 vaccination."

"Travelers are also encouraged to present a negative test result from a PCR or antigen COVID-19 test, which will facilitate entry into Poland," the agency states.

Americans are instructed by the department to "[g]et a COVID vaccine to facilitate your travel" before fleeing Ukraine while a Russian incursion appears imminent. 

The State Department press release does not list what COVID vaccines are acceptable nor does it include instructions for people who are not fully vaccinated. U.S. citizens who are medically unable to receive the COVID vaccine, in addition to children, are not addressed in the statement.

The agency is also unclear whether unvaccinated U.S. citizens will be turned away at the land border with Poland.

The vaccine requirement was not in place for people who were evacuated by the United States from Afghanistan in August. The Biden administration was still planning COVID tests and other screenings for people leaving Afghanistan hours before the Taliban took over the country.

"The security situation in Ukraine continues to be unpredictable due to the increased threats of Russian military action and can deteriorate with little notice," the State Department reiterated in its Saturday press release. "U.S. citizens in Ukraine should depart immediately using commercial or other privately available transportation options."