If you are traveling to the United States, you will now need to do a COVID-19 test before flying. Or, be prepared to show proof of a recent positive test for the virus and a letter from your PCP or public health representative stating that you have been approved to travel.
Recall that on January 12, 2021, the CDC issued an order that requires all air passengers arriving in the United States from another country to undergo testing no more than 3 days before flight departure and provide proof of a negative result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 to the airline. before boarding a flight. This Order comes into force on January 26, 2021.
The order applies to all air passengers 2 years of age and older traveling to the United States, including US citizens and US permanent residents.
The CDC does not recommend retesting within three months of testing positive for the virus unless you have symptoms of COVID-19. If you have tested positive in the past 3 months and met the criteria for ending isolation, you may travel with documentation of your positive test results and a letter from your PCP or public health official stating that you have received approval for departure. A positive test result and a letter are collectively called “recovery documentation”.
In the event that a passenger refuses to present a negative COVID-19 test during check-in, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.
The CDC requires air passengers arriving in the United States to have a paper or electronic copy of the test results for airline review before boarding and for possible review by public health officials upon arrival in the United States.
The CDC recommends that travelers get tested 3-5 days after travel and stay home or otherwise quarantined for 7 days after travel. Even if the test is negative, stay at home for the full 7 days. If you do not get tested, it is safest to stay at home for 10 days. Always follow state and local travel guidelines or requirements.
Consider different options for a trip to the USA:
- If you are arriving on a direct flight to the United States, your test must be submitted within 3 days of your flight to the United States.
- If you are arriving in the United States on one or more connecting flights, your test must be done 3 days before the first flight on your itinerary, but only if the connecting flights were booked as a single passenger record with your final destination in the United States and each connection (transfer) lasts no more than 24 hours.
- If your connecting flight to the United States was booked separately, or your itinerary is connecting more than 24 hours, you will need to be tested within 3 days of your flight to the United States.
Even if you received the vaccine, you need to provide a negative COVID-19 test for travel to the United States or recovery documentation.
All travelers (including those who have recovered from COVID-19) should remember to wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet away from people who are not in your family, and wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after blow your nose, cough, or sneeze and before eating.