Latest US Travel Rules For Covid-19 – Forbes Advisor

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Here’s the latest on travel to and from the United States, including quarantine requirements, testing and rules for foreign countries. We’ll update this page with information as we get it.

What Covid-19 Test Can I Take to Get Into the US?

All travelers ages 2 and older are required to present a negative Covid-19 test within one calendar day of travel. With such a narrow window for taking a test and receiving results, travelers’ testing options for returning to the US have been dramatically curtailed. So which tests can you take to ensure you will be allowed to board your flight?

The CDC permits results from two types of tests: NAAT (eg a PCR test) and antigen.

PCR tests are typically sent to a lab for processing, and it can take up to several days to receive results. This timeline is less likely to work when you have a one-calendar day window to get tested AND get results before boarding your plane.

A better option is an antigen test, which can return results in 15-30 minutes. However, not all antigen tests must pass with the CDC order.

The CDC says that a qualifying antigen test “must include a telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test that provides real-time supervision remotely through an audio and video connection.” In other words, you need to get someone to watch you take your test for it to be accepted.

Most over-the-counter antigen tests won’t work for this purpose; you need to buy a particular type of test such as a BinaxNow Home Test or Qured’s rapid tests.

If you find yourself in a foreign country and you haven’t brought a qualifying test with you on your trip, you will have to get a test that’s authorized for use by the relevant authority in the country you’re taking the test.

Whether a test qualifies will vary by country, and the cost will too; in some cases, you may be able to take one at the airport before you fly. You might be able to get one at a local pharmacy. If possible, research your destination before you leave the US to make sure you can get a test in a timeframe that works.

Related: When Should I Use A Home Covid Test?

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The New US Covid-19 Entry Requirements Started on Dec. 6

The US is still enforcing strict Covid-19 testing rules for travelers coming to the US A recap:

  • All travelers, whether they’re vaccinated or not, must present a negative Covid-19 test to their airline before traveling to the US The test must be taken no more than one calendar day before your flight.
  • The test must be either PCR or antigen. You can use a self-test, but it must adhere to the CDC’s stringent guidelines.
  • Documentation of recovery from Covid-19 is permitted when US citizens and legal residents travel into the United States by air. Documentation includes a previous positive test result and a signed letter from a healthcare provider or public health official stating you’re cleared for travel.
  • Those who are not citizens or legal residents of the US must provide proof of vaccination to enter the country IN ADDITION TO a negative Covid-19 test.

Given the tight deadline to get tested AND receive your results, an antigen test is generally preferable to a PCR test. PCR test results can take days, whereas antigen test results can take minutes to get your results.

If you travel abroad from the US and forget to pack an antigen test for your trip home, things may get a little tricky for you. Not all countries sell over-the-counter antigen tests, some tests may not meet all the requirements set out by the CDC, and you may have to book an appointment to get one professionally conducted. This is especially true if you’re traveling on a Monday or the day after a holiday as services may be limited on Sundays and holidays.

Read more: Best Covid-19 Travel Insurance March 2022

It’s Confirmed: Biden Tightens Covid Testing Restrictions for Travelers Entering the US

On Dec. 2, the Biden Administration said that all travelers aged 2 and over flying to the US would need to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within a day before their flight.

Unlike the previous requirements, which allowed for a longer timetable for vaccinated travelers, this new requirement will treat all passengers the same, regardless of vaccination status. As is currently the case, either a PCR or antigen test will be accepted as proof of being negative for Covid-19.

The test requirements include taking it within one calendar day and is not limited to within 24 hours of your departure. This means that passengers will be able to take their test at any time during the day before their flight, no matter what time their flight departs.

There are no new quarantine restrictions at this time.

Japan Still Closed for Most Foreign Visitors

Japan has continued to greatly restrict who can enter the country. As of March 1, foreign nationals can enter the country for short-term stays for business or employment. Long-term stays of foreign nationals are restricted to a limited number and include foreign students and technical trainees.

Those entering Japan must have a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of the international leg of their trip and must be tested upon arrival. US citizens that are vaccinated and have a booster do not need to quarantine. US citizens who are not vaccinated, or are vaccinated without a booster, can either quarantine for seven days at home or in a hotel, OR quarantine for three days at home or in a hotel AND complete a PCD or antigen test on day three.

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Read more: Best Pandemic Travel Insurance

What Counts as Proof of Vaccination for Travel?

If you’re not a US citizen or legal resident, you must provide proof of vaccination for travel. A booster dose is NOT needed to be considered vaccinated. This proof must tick the following boxes:

  • It’s issued by an official source (eg the CDC)
  • It shows your name and date of birth
  • It shows the vaccine you received, and the date(s) for all the doses you received

Acceptable forms of proof include:

  • A paper vaccination certificate
  • A printout of a Covid-19 vaccination record
  • A vaccination certificate with a QR code
  • A digital pass via a smartphone app (eg the EU’s digital Covid certificate)
  • A digital photo of a vaccination card or record
  • A downloaded version of a vaccination card or record from an official source
  • A mobile phone app without a QR code

Only certain vaccines are accepted for entry into the US These are:

  • AstraZeneca
  • BIBP/Sinopharm
  • Covaxin
  • covishield
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson
  • moderna
  • Pfizer/BioNTech
  • Sinovac

Do I Need to Get a Covid Test Before I Enter the United States?

Yes. All passengers aged 2 and over are required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test to their airline taken within one day of their flight departure to the United States. Non-US citizens who are visiting must also show proof of being vaccinated before entering the country.

If you’re a US citizen or legal resident that recently recovered from Covid-19, you can travel with documentation proving your recovery (the CDC gives the example of a positive Covid-19 viral test received no more than 90 days before your flight back to the US, plus a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or public health official declaring it’s safe for you to travel).

Unlike the previous requirements, which allowed for a longer testing timetable for vaccinated travelers, this new requirement requires all passengers entering the country to get tested. Only those who are not US citizens or legal residents need to show proof of vaccination.

It’s important to note that the test requirements include taking it within one calendar day and is not limited to within 24 hours of your departure. This means that you’ll be able to take your test at any time during the day before your flight, no matter what time your flight departs.

Either a PCR or antigen test will be accepted as proof of being negative for Covid-19. The CDC requires the test to be “authorized for use by the relevant national authority for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the country where the test is administered”.

This may mean an over-the-counter at-home test bought in a foreign country won’t qualify. It may also mean that you have to get an antigen test in person, conducted by a licensed professional.

If you take your test within one calendar day but outside a 24-hour window before your flight, it may be prudent to have a copy of the regulations handy to show to airport personnel.

If you test positive for Covid-19, you won’t be able to board a flight to the US

Are Masks Still Required While Traveling to the US?

Yes: You must wear a mask during air travel and in all US airports. The mask mandate was set to expire on March 18, but has been extended for one additional month through April 19, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Should I Get Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance can be a valuable safety net in any year, but especially when travel uncertainties are high. With travel rules changing daily across the globe because of the Omicron variant, you can protect your trip investment with the right travel insurance.

Standard trip cancellation insurance can reimburse you 100% of your non-refundable trip costs for many common problems such as illness, injury, family emergencies and hurricanes.

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But when Covid has the potential to cause additional hurdles, consider “cancel for any reason” travel insurance. This upgrade allows you to cancel the trip for a reason not listed under standard trip cancellation and receive partial reimbursement, usually 75% of trip costs.

For example, you could make a claim under “cancel for any reason” coverage because of a border closing or because you don’t want to do a mandatory quarantine upon arrival. Or maybe you don’t like the Covid testing requirements of your destination, or you simply think it’s the wrong time to be traveling.

“Cancel for any reason” insurance generally adds an average of 50% to your travel insurance cost and must be purchased within two to three weeks of your initial trip deposit (deadlines depend on the plan), so don’t miss the purchase window if you’re interested in buying it.

If you’re buying travel insurance, it’s also wise to make sure your plan includes Covid-related medical coverage. Even if you’re fully vaccinated, travel medical insurance within a plan can pick up medical costs—up to the policy limits—no matter where you’re in the world. Look for at least $150,000 in medical coverage per person in a pandemic travel insurance plan.

With a combination of travel medical insurance and a “cancel for any reason” upgrade, you can be armed with broad protection and better enjoy your trip.

See more: Best Cancel For Any Reason Travel Insurance 2022

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