If you’ll be heading abroad soon, or are thinking of flying to the United States from another country, important changes are coming in terms of travel requirements.
Just a few days ago, we shared that the U.S. might require a negative COVID-19 test for all international travelers. Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has officially finalized its order regarding COVID-19 test requirements for international travelers and we’re breaking it down here for you.
According to the CDC website, starting January 26th, 2021, all travelers that are flying to the United States from a foreign country will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 BEFORE boarding their flight.
The test must be from no more than 3 days before the day the flight departs. The Order will apply to all air passengers 2 years old or older who are traveling to the US from abroad. Even US citizens and legal permanent residents who are traveling from foreign countries will need to show this proof. There are still certain restrictions regarding the travel of foreign nationals from specific countries to the U.S., so be sure to read the CDC’s website to get all the latest information.
The CDC’s website specifically notes that you should make sure to get tested with a viral test (NAAT or antigen test) to determine if you are currently infected with COVID-19. You’ll also need to make sure you get the results before your flight departs and that you have documentation to show your results to the airline.
If you recently recovered from COVID-19, the rules are a bit different. The CDC doesn’t recommend that you get tested again in the 3 months after you had a positive COVID-19 viral test as long as you don’t have any COVID-19 symptoms. So, if you had positive viral test in the past 3 months and you have met the criteria to end isolation, then instead of showing a negative COVID-19 test result in order to fly, you can travel with “documentation of your positive viral test results and a letter from your healthcare provider or public health official that states you have been cleared for travel.”
If a passenger chooses not to provide the test result or documentation of recovery, the airline MUST deny them boarding. If a person develops COVID-19 symptoms or they have a pre-departure test that is positive, they should self-isolate and delay their travel until they have recovered.
The order will apply to ALL international flights starting January 26th, 2021. That includes private flights and general aviation aircraft (charter flights). So, if you’ve got an upcoming flight to the United States from a foreign country, be sure to check the CDC webpage about this for more information about what documentation you must provide and other updates.