In order to slow down the spread of Covid-19, the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has implemented an improved safety measure that will require all international air travelers to carry a negative COVID-19 test certificate before flying to the United States.
If you are planning to travel internationally or are currently staying abroad and planning back to the U.S., you should contact your airline or travel agents for specific information on traveler testing requirements. Because airlines could implement and modify their own specific travel policies to incorporate the proposed CDC rule, you must need to contact the airline for your U.S.-bound flight and not rely on information from other carriers or on information or experience from previous trips.
As per the statement given by CDC, The strategy behind testing before and after travel will play a crucial role to slow the introduction and spread of the virus. This strategy is compatible with the current phase of the pandemic and more effectively protects the health of Americans.
Requirement of Negative Pre-Departure Covid-19 Test Result For Passengers Arriving into the U.S.
Effective January 26, the travelers arriving at the United State are required to conduct a viral test within the 72 hours preceding the flight departure from a foreign country. They will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result to the airline. Alternatively, if the passenger has recovered from Covid-19, they will need to carry documentation from a licensed health provider (paper/electronic copy) or Public health officer indicating that the passenger has been cleared for travel (Documentation of recovery).
Airlines must validate the negative test result or recovery documentation for all passengers prior to boarding. If a passenger is unable to provide a test result or a recovery document, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger. The CDC also recommend travelers to get the test again three to five days after arriving in the U.S. and quarantining at home for the next seven days.
The new safety measure has been put in place in order to tackle the spike in Coronavirus cases post the holiday season When there is a greater number of international travelers flying in.
CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said in the announcement, “Testing will not necessarily eliminate all risk exposure, but combined with a period of stay at home and habit of regular precautions, such as social distancing, wearing masks can make travel safer, healthier and more responsible by limiting the incidence during flight, airports or at destinations”
CDC facilitates the airline or aircraft operator to incorporate the certificate into paperless check-in processes. Airline or aircraft operator may use a third party (including a third party application) to collect attestations, including translations. However, it is the sole legal responsibility of the airline or aircraft operator to provide and collect certificates, to ensure the accuracy of any translations and to comply with all other obligations under this Order.
Since the new variant has been detected in six states in the U.S., CDC has made an announcement on universal testing for international travelers entering the U.S. is expanding the recent U.K.-specific passenger testing announced at the end of December in an effort to slow the spread of a more contagious variant of the virus. Non-U.S. Citizens or international travelers from Europe, China and the United Kingdom will still be barred from entering, with or without presenting a negative test.
The new variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus are emerging in countries around the world, and there are higher levels transmittability of some of these variants. With the US already on the rise, the testing requirement for international travelers will help slow the spread of the virus.
International travelers flying to/from countries with little or no testing capacity, for example, some places in the Caribbean will be exempted from this policy. Children under the age of two, military personnel, airline crew and the passengers transiting through the USA will be exempted from the safety measure.
Required Documentation For Onboard Passenger
- The personal identifier(name, date of birth) on the negative Qualifying Test Result should contain a personal identifier(name, date of birth) that match on the passenger’s passport or other travel documents
- Passenger arrives on a direct flight to the U.S. The sample has been collected within 3 calendar days prior to the departure of the flight.
- If the passenger arrives on one or more connecting flights, the specimen shall be collected within the 72 hours preceding the departure of the initial flight, but only if connecting flights have been booked as a single passenger record with a destination in the United States or connection is no longer than 24 hours, and The airline or aircraft operator has instructed the passenger to comply with the safety protocols
- The test result should contain ‘NEGATIVE,’ ‘SARS-CoV-2 RNA NOT DETECTED,’ ‘SARS-CoV-2 ANTIGEN NOT DETECTED,’ or ‘COVID-19 NOT DETECTED.’ The test labelled ‘invalid’ is not acceptable
- The passenger has submitted a positive test result document and a signed letter on the official letterhead containing the name, address and telephone number of the licenced health care provider or public health official stating that the passenger has been cleared for travel.
For the latest travel information regarding airline policies or travel restrictions, please visit our website and stay safe.
Additionally, Travelers are recommended to enrol in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to stay alerts and make it easier to locate you at the time of emergency. The Department uses these alerts to provide information on terrorist threats, natural disasters, security incidents, or planned demonstrations, etc.
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