As you have likely heard, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 for all air passengers, including U.S. citizens, arriving from a foreign country. The order, which becomes effective on Tuesday, January 26, builds on an existing one put in place in December.
Here is what we know:
- All inbound passengers, regardless of citizenship status, must get tested no more than 3 days before their flight to the U.S. departs. The test must be a viral test (NAAT or antigen test).
- If the passenger has tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months, she does not have get tested again but can travel instead with documentation of her positive viral test results and a letter from her healthcare provider or a public health official that states she has been cleared for travel.
- It is the responsibility of the airline to confirm a COVID-19 negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before boarding, and to deny boarding if such is not presented. Passengers must also fill out a CDC attestation form.
- The test result must be in the form of written documentation (paper or electronic copy) of a laboratory test, and must include information that identifies the person, a specimen collection date and the type of test administered, as well as verification information, such as the name and contact information for the laboratory that performed the test.
Upon arrival in the U.S. CDC recommends, but doesn’t require, that travelers get retested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home or otherwise self-quarantine for 7 days after travel. Note that your state may have more stringent requirements for returning travelers.
- Importantly, the order allows CDC to grant waivers based on CDC’s determination that a foreign country lacks available COVID-19 testing capacity. (I'm hoping that CDC determine the countries for which waivers will be granted as soon as possible.)
Obviously, this order creates a number of challenges and many travel advisors are working to be ready to overcome these challenges so that our clients can travel safely and confidently.
Please know that when you book your trips with me, I will always have your best interests and safety at heart when I'm helping you with your travel plans.