Travel Tips & News

All air travellers to the US need a negative Covid test to enter

Travel to the US is now a little trickier. Or easier, depending how you view it. No matter which airline you choose, for all international travellers arriving to the United States a negative Covid test is now mandatory.

Before boarding a flight, showing proof of a negative Covid test is a government requirement rather than a nice-to-have. This federal policy kicks in on January 26, expanding a similar rule implemented in December that required travellers from Britain to show proof of a negative test result, designed to stop the more contagious UK strain. 

Let’s take a look at the new rules and the negative Covid test requirement.

Your vaccination status doesn’t matter

Regardless of whether you’ve completed the two doses of an approved vaccine or not, all passengers are required to take a Covid test to travel to the US now.

Jason McDonald, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the New York Times that simply showing proof of immunisation is insufficient as the vaccines have only been shown to prevent serious illness. In theory, someone who is vaccinated and healthy could still become infected on a flight and transmit the virus to others.

RELATED CONTENT: How to stay germ-free when travelling

Get tested three days before departing

Some airlines already have a negative Covid test requirement and some don’t, so this USA travel Covid test policy might actually make navigating international transit a whole lot easier and more straightforward.

From January 26 it is expected that all air passengers need to take a Covid test for infection within 72 hours or three days of their flight to the United States. Each passenger will be required to show a negative Covid test result as proof.

Every airline must now confirm your negative Covid test before you board. If you, the passenger, can’t provide proof of a negative test, show documentation of recovery (information in next paragraph) or refuse to take a test, then the airline legally must deny boarding.

No test needed three months after a positive test

If you have tested positive for Coronavirus in the three months prior to your flight you won’t be required to take another test before you travel to the US now. It might seem a little odd, but so long as the passenger does not have any Covid related symptoms, they may travel with documentation of a positive test result and a letter from a health care provider or a public health official. The letter must state that the traveler is now healthy and cleared for travel.

Why make everyone get tested now?

As mentioned, the US government introduced mandatory negative Covid tests for all travellers from Britain to stop or slow the spread of the more contagious strain. The White House Coronavirus taskforce has been considering this new blanket policy to cover all international air travel for a while.

The penny dropped when the Japanese government announced that four travellers from Brazil brought a new variant of the virus into their country this week. There is also another variant of concern circulating in South Africa.

Are you planning to travel to the US now?

Maybe you have a trip planned or are considering a visit to the USA. Here at Trafalgar, we are seeing interest gathering from guests keen to travel to, or around, North America. We’re seeing people increasingly drawn to nature over cities thanks to the wide open spaces and ease of social distancing. 

Of course, the incredible US national parks are top of everyone’s wishlist, along with the stunning Hawaiian islands in the Pacific. 

Let us know in the comments if a trip to the USA is on your 2021 or 2022 wish list, or organise a video appointment with one of our Travel Experts to start planning your great escape today…

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