The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has ordered that all travelers traveling to the United States from abroad will have to show evidence of negative Covid-19 tests before boarding their flight starting January 26. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said initial testing is necessary as cases of Covid-19 continue to rise and new, more contagious strains of the virus are emerging worldwide.
Here’s what you need to know about the new protocols before taking a trip.
Who does it affect?
The order applies to everyone who travels to the United States on international trips, including citizens of the United States. You will need to show negative test results even if you are traveling on a private jet or a charter flight. There are exceptions for children under the age of two, airline crews, federal law enforcement agents and members of the military who travel on duty.
What countries are covered?
every one of them. Travelers need to show evidence of negative testing when traveling to the United States from any country, including Mexico and the Caribbean. Airlines can seek temporary exemptions for some countries where test supplies are insufficient, but carriers have yet to specify which countries might fall into this category.
The requirement for comprehensive testing goes into effect on January 26. People arriving from the UK are already subject to similar testing requirements that went into effect in December after a new strain of coronavirus emerged there.
What type of test will I need, and when? What happens if I don’t get my results? Air travelers traveling to the United States must undergo testing for no more than three days prior to travel by air and bring written or electronic evidence of the results. Airlines can accept PCR and rapid antigen tests. If you do not have the documents with you, airlines will not allow you to board the plane, as per the CDC order.
Airlines are still working out the exact protocols they will use to verify test results. A United Airlines spokeswoman said customers arriving from the UK on United Airlines show test results in the lobby before security, but the details may not be the same for other countries.
What if I get vaccinated?
Even if you are vaccinated against Covid-19, you still need to show evidence of a negative test result.
What if I recently had Covid-19 and got better?
If you have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past three months but you no longer have symptoms, the CDC does not recommend testing again. If you are in this group and you meet the criteria to end isolation, the CDC says you can travel as long as you have written permission from a health care provider or public health official. Bring positive test result and doctor’s letter to show the airline instead of negative test result.
Does this mean that the United States has lifted the ban on most travel from Europe, the United Kingdom, and other countries?
Not at this point. Airlines have been pressing the government to drop the ban, especially now that test requirements are in place. However, the government has not taken any action on this, so people who are not US citizens or permanent residents cannot come to the US from most of Europe, the UK, Brazil, China, and Iran. Likewise, many countries do not allow travelers to enter from the United States, or continue to impose lengthy quarantine requirements on arrival.
What if I need to change my travel plans now?
Airlines have already eliminated most international change fees and are adding more flexibility for people who need to adjust their plans and arrive in the United States before new testing requirements take effect.
American Airlines Group Inc. And Delta Air Lines Inc. For example, for people to rebook international tickets to the United States that were scheduled to arrive on February 9th, as long as new travel begins on or before January 25. This means you can rebook to travel before the test is ordered without paying higher last-minute rates.
Do I need to be tested again or quarantined when I return to the United States?
The CDC recommends that people get a second test after three to five days of travel and stay home for seven days (or 10 days without a second test). CDC officials said testing alone is not a substitute for social distancing and wearing face masks.