U.S. Requiring COVID-19 Test Before Entry

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Tuesday, Jan. 12, that all international travelers to the U.S. arriving by air will have to show proof of a negative COVID test result (or documentation of recovery from the illness) before boarding their flight to the U.S. Travelers will be required to take the test no more than 72 hours before departure, and the airline will be required to confirm the result before allowing travelers onboard the aircraft. This order takes effect on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.

The requirement applies to all airline passengers, including U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, and non-citizens alike, who are 2 years old or older.

Previous Presidential proclamations restricted certain categories of travelers from entering the U.S. Foreign nationals who have visited certain countries within 14 days of travel to the U.S. will still not be allowed to enter the U.S. These countries include China, Iran, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Brazil, and any countries in the European Schengen area.

Airlines will require a viral test (NAAT or antigen test) to be taken no more than 3 days before their flight departs. Airline officials will confirm the negative test result or documentation of recovery. Passengers without either of these two pieces of documentation will be denied boarding.

Travelers who have recently recovered from coronavirus can show a combination of their positive viral test results and a letter from a healthcare provider or public health official stating that the passenger has met the criteria to end isolation and has been cleared for travel.

The order applies to all commercial, private, and charter flights entering the U.S. Crew members are exempt if they follow the Federal Aviation Administration’s protocols.

Even passengers who have received the COVID-19 vaccine are required to show proof of a negative test result or documentation of recovery.

A full explanation and a list of frequently asked questions is available on the CDC website.

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