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Covid19

Testing and International Air Travel

Air travel requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Social distancing is difficult in busy airports and on crowded flights, and sitting within 6 feet of others, sometimes for hours, may increase your risk of getting COVID-19. How you get to and from the airport, such as with public transportation and ridesharing, can also increase your chances of being exposed to the virus.

Testing before and after travel can reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Testing does not eliminate all risk, but when paired with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations.

Here’s what to know:

Plan ahead: Make sure you understand and follow all airline and destination requirements related to travel, testing, or quarantine, which may differ from U.S. requirements. If you do not follow your destination’s requirements, you may be denied entry and required to return to the United States.
All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States.
Make sure that you will be able to get a test at your destination before your return to the United States. Always check and follow state and local recommendations or requirements related to travel in addition to federal requirements.
Get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before you travel. Keep a copy of your test results with you during travel in case you are asked for them. Check and follow destination testing requirements—they may require specific types of tests.
Don’t travel if you test positive; immediately isolate yourself and follow public health recommendations
Delay your travel if you are waiting for test results.
Get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days after travel.
Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 10 days after travel.
If you are eligible, get fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Wait 2 weeks after getting your second vaccine dose to travel—it takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination.
Plan Ahead
Check if your airline or destination requires any health information, testing, or other documents. Some destinations require testing before travel and/or after arrival. If you do not follow your destination’s requirements, you may be denied entry and required to return to the United States. You may have to pay any related airline fees. If you test positive at your destination, you might be required to isolate. You might be delayed from returning to the United States as scheduled.

Information about testing requirements for your destination may be available from the Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health, or the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information webpageexternal icon.

Take steps to reduce higher-risk activities for 14 days before your trip and get tested 1-3 days before you travel. Testing before travel could help reduce the chance that your travel will be interrupted or delayed by COVID-19.

Do NOT travel if you were exposed to COVID-19, you are sick, or you have tested positive for COVID-19. Learn when it is safe for you to travel. Don’t travel with someone who is sick.

Get Tested Before Your Flight
Below is what you need to know about getting tested before your international flight.

Get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip and again no more than 3 days before your return flight to the United States departs.

Make sure you get your test results before you travel. If you are waiting for results, delay your travel.
Do not travel if your test result is positive; immediately isolate yourself, and follow public health recommendations.
A negative test does not mean that you were not exposed or that you will not develop COVID-19. Make sure to wear a mask, avoid crowds, stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from others, wash your hands, and watch your health for signs of illness while traveling.
Keep a copy of your test results with you during travel. You may be asked for them.
Check your destination’s testing requirements before you depart—they may require specific types of tests. If you do not follow your destination’s requirements, you may be denied entry and required to return to the United States.

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