New COVID-19 Testing Requirements for All Air Travel to US

Airport during COVID

All air travelers coming to the United States will be required to take a test for COVID-19 test and show proof of negative results.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that beginning on January 26 anyone coming into the country must take and pass the test within three days before their flight and provide the lab results of their test.

"Variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world, and there is evidence of increased transmissibility of some of these variants," the CDC said in a statement. "With the US already in surge status, the testing requirement for air passengers will help slow the spread of the virus as we work to vaccinate the American public."

If someone does not pass their COVID test (either a PCR or a rapid antigen test) or does not take one, the CDC has instructed the airlines to not allow the passenger to board the plane.

If you have recently recovered from COVID and have met the criteria to end isolation, you must provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 from a health-care provider or public-health official and bring the doctor's letter and your positive test result in lieu of a negative test result.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield explained further, saying in the statement, "Testing does not eliminate all risk, but when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations."

Additionally, the CDC is recommending that people traveling internationally get tested again -- 3 to 5 days after you arrive and to isolate at home for 7 days (or to isolate for 10 days if you do not get tested a second time). 

Get more resources on COVID and international travel from the CDC.

More: COVID Vaccine Myths Debunked!

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