Jan 12, 2021 - Health

All visitors to U.S. will require negative COVID test to fly

Facemasks airport

Photo: NIKLAS HALLE'N / Getty Images

Anyone flying to the United States must test negative for the coronavirus before boarding their flight under a policy announced Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: With cases surging in the U.S., and new, more contagious variants emerging in other countries, the CDC says pre-flight testing will help slow the spread of the virus until the American public is fully vaccinated.

  • The new policy, which takes effect Jan. 26, expands an order implemented last month to require negative tests from travelers from the U.K.

How it works: Before departure to the U.S., air passengers are required to obtain a viral test (to test for current infection) within three days of departure.

  • They must provide paper or electronic documentation of their lab result.
  • The CDC also recommends getting tested again 3-5 days after arrival, and isolate for 7 days post-travel.
  • As an alternative, individuals may provide documentation that they've recovered from COVID-19.

Go deeper: Even with vaccine, COVID tests will be the passport to travel in 2021

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