US Drops Pre-Travel Covid Testing Requirement For International Travelers

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention citing a “new phase” of the Covid pandemic in a statement confirming the rule change, lifting the requirement for international travelers to have Covid test prior to within 24 hourrs of traveling to the United States, as of Sunday, June 12th, 2022.

“Widespread uptake of highly effective Covid-19 vaccines, the availability of effective therapeutics, and the accrual of high rates of vaccine- and infection-induced immunity at the population level in the United States” have all helped lower the risk of severe disease and death, the agency said.

Many travelers in the United States and abroad have been waiting for it. The travel industry has been pushing for it. And now an end has come to the requirement for travelers to test negative for Covid-19 before entering the US. Navigating ever-shifting entry requirements across the globe has been a source of great confusion for travelers everywhere.

Here’s what we know about how the new policy will impact US arrivals:

When does the the pre-travel testing requirement be lifted?

The requirement ended on Sunday, June 12, at 12:01 a.m. ET.

That means flights departing to the US from a foreign country at or after that time no longer have to present a negative test result or documentation of recovery in the past 90 days from Covid-19.

Departures before that time will require testing.

Is the decision final?

Like many measures targeting Covid-19, the rules are subject to change.

“CDC continues to evaluate the latest science and state of the pandemic and will reassess the need for a testing requirement if the situation changes,” the agency said in a statement.

Do foreign arrivals to the US still need to be vaccinated?

Yes. The vaccination requirement for foreign arrivals has not changed.

Travelers 18 and older who are not US citizens, US nationals, legal permanent residents or immigrants must be fully vaccinated to travel to the US, with limited exceptions.

Children 17 and under are not required to be vaccinated.

What about unvaccinated Americans?

The end of the testing requirement applies to all travelers previously required to present negative test results, and vaccination requirements to enter the United States do not apply to US citizens.

What is the CDC’s recommendation for travel?

The CDC still recommends that travelers remain up to date on vaccinations and test for infection before and after travel and after any known exposure to someone with Covid-19.

The CDC also continues to recommend wearing masks in indoor public transportation settings. Masks are no longer required.

Are land border and ferry port arrivals affected by the rule change?

No. The rule change applies to air travel. Covid-19 testing has not been required for entry via a land or ferry port. Non-US travelers 18 and older must be fully vaccinated to enter the US.

According to Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst, there were good reasons to have the testing requirements at other points during the pandemic. “Having the testing requirement is not doing much, if anything, to keep the coronavirus out of the US, and instead is creating a major barrier to people who wish to travel abroad and return,” Wen said. “Of course, if people have symptoms or exposure while traveling, they need to get tested, and if they test positive, to follow CDC’s isolation guidelines.”

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