On November 8th, a number of travel changes will be implemented impacting both citizens and non-citizens traveling to the U.S. from international destinations. The most significant change for U.S. citizens is a new policy that unvaccinated individuals will be required to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within one day of departure to the U.S. This is a change from the previous three-day requirement, which remains in place for vaccinated travelers. Additionally, airlines will now verify vaccination status – in addition to negative COVID-19 test results – to ensure individuals comply with the correct testing timeframe based on their vaccination status. More information can be found below, but as always, please check the CDC website at cdc.gov and the U.S. State Department website at travel.state.gov for any new updates.
It is now more important than ever to know the airline & destination requirements prior to booking travel. Do have a travel consultant and/or advocate on your side?
Updated Travel Requirements for All Adult Travelers
• Unvaccinated air passengers, including non-U.S. citizens, U.S. citizens, and lawful permanent residents, will be required to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within one day of departure to the U.S. This is a tightening of restrictions given that the previous requirement was for a test taken within three days.
• All fully vaccinated air passengers entering the United States internationally, including U.S. citizens, will continue to be required to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of travel prior to boarding a flight. This is consistent with previous requirements and is not changing with these new requirements. This applies only to travelers who have received vaccines approved for emergency use by the FDA and/or the World Health Organization two weeks prior to travel.
• In order to have the results from a three-day testing window accepted, vaccinated U.S. citizens traveling from an international destination will need to provide proof of their vaccination to their airline. Otherwise, a one-day test will be required.
• International air passengers to the United States will now be required to provide basic, valid contact information to airlines before boarding flights to the United States to allow airlines to better coordinate with public health agencies, to share information when needed, to keep the public safe and informed.
• Please check with your airline regarding accommodations for people who have a documented recovery from COVID-19 in the past 90 days with respect to the testing requirement.
Updated Travel Requirements for Children under 18
• Children between the ages of 2 and 17 are required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test in order to enter the U.S., regardless of citizenship. Children under 2 years of age are excepted from the testing requirement, but it is recommended by the CDC when possible. Children under 18 are exempt from having to provide proof of vaccination.
• If a child is not fully vaccinated and traveling with a fully vaccinated adult, they can show proof of a negative viral test from a sample taken within three days before departure, which is consistent with the timeline for fully vaccinated adults.
• If an unvaccinated child is traveling alone or with unvaccinated adults, they will have to show proof of a negative viral test from a sample taken within one day of departure.
Approved Vaccines + Proof of Vaccination
• Approved vaccines include Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca.
• Proof of vaccination should be a paper or digital record issued by an official source and should include the traveler’s name and date of birth, as well as the vaccine product and date(s) of administration for all doses the traveler received. If a digital record is provided, it is suggested that a paper copy also be carried by all travelers.
• To accept proof of vaccination airlines are prepared to match the name and date of birth to confirm the passenger is the same person reflected on the proof of vaccination, determine that the record was issued by an official source (e.g., public health agency, government agency) in the country where the vaccine was given and review the essential information for determining if the passenger meets CDC's definition for fully vaccinated such as vaccine product, number of vaccine doses received, date(s) of administration, site (e.g., vaccination clinic, healthcare facility) of vaccination.