On December 2, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order that amends the requirements concerning the necessity for international travelers to have a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery from COVID-19 if they are airline passengers that will be traveling to the United States from a foreign country.
This order mandates that all travelers, whether vaccinated or not, trying to enter the United States must show proof that they have had a negative COVID-19 test no earlier than one day before traveling to the United States. This amended order comes just after the recent order restricting travel from eight countries in Southern Africa due to concern over the omicron variant, which the World Health Organization has classified as a variant of concern.
The previous travel policy mandated that fully vaccinated travelers present proof of a negative COVID-19 test that was taken sometime in the last 72 hours before getting on the aircraft. This order from the CDC will apply to anyone traveling to the United States, which means United States citizens as well. This order was effective as of December 6, 2021. Therefore, any airline entering the United States needs to be ready to verify that everyone onboard that is at least two years of age has shown proof that they have recovered from COVID-19, such as a positive COVID-19 test taken within the last 90 days, or have had a qualifying negative COVID-19 test.
The CDC has given certain requirements for what documentation may be used as proof of an acceptable test result. The tests must include:
A traveler is also permitted to show proof of having recovered recently from COVID-19. To do so, the traveler must provide documentation that shows a positive SARS-CoV-2 viral test result that was taken within 90 days before the person’s flight. The positive COVID-19 test is required to have: