It's been more than a year since Jhuly Soares and her mom have seen each other.
"I am so happy," Soares said. "I don't have words to express my feeling."
Jhuly and Paula Soares' mother, Maria Soares, arrived at JFK airport in New York City from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday.
Maria says words cannot explain how happy she is to finally be able to hug her daughter.
She is one of millions of passengers around the world who can now travel to the U.S.
"The COVID changed everything and most people so sad right now because most people lost their loved ones. But right now we are so happy," Paula Soares said.
The lifted restrictions allow nationals from over 30 countries, including Brazil, Mexico and most of Europe, to enter the U.S.
The travelers need to be fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved or authorized vaccine or a shot noted on the World Health Organization emergency-use list. They also must show a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 3 days prior to arrival to the U.S.
Monday, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways flights from Heathrow in London symbolically took off at the same time to mark the day 20 months in the making.
Ariely Campos was able to be reunited with her sister in New York. They haven't hugged in almost three years.
Traveling passengers must provide a physical copy or digital version of their vaccination card.
U.S. citizens and children under the age of 18 don't need to show proof of vaccination, but they do need proof of a negative COVID-19 test.