U.S. Tightens COVID Testing Requirement for International Travelers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is revising the current Global Testing Order to shorten the timeline for required testing for all international air travelers to one day before departure to the United States.

The new protocol updates the current requirements, which mandate foreign travelers be fully vaccinated.

“As we learn more about the Omicron variant, this new one-day testing policy will help to protect travelers and the health and safety of American communities from COVID-19″, the CDC said in a statement. “These orders put in place a stringent and consistent global international travel policy that is guided by public health.”

The announcement means that beginning Monday, December 6, all air travelers, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, will be to be required to show a negative pre-departure COVID-19 viral test taken the day before they board their flight to the United States.

For example, a passenger whose flight to the United States is at any time on a Sunday would need to have a negative test taken at any time on Saturday.

The CDC continues to recommend that all travelers get a COVID-19 viral test 3-5 days after arrival, and that unvaccinated travelers should quarantine for seven days after travel.

The travel requirements will be effective for air travel to the United States from any foreign country departing at or after 12:01 AM ET on December 6, 2021.

In addition to the new testing requirements for international travelers, the TSA, in conjunction with the CDC, has also extended the face mask requirement across all transportation networks throughout the United States, including at airports, on board commercial aircraft, on over-the-road buses, and on commuter bus and rail systems through March 18, 2022.

The current regulation requiring masks was set to expire next month. 

“The combination of vaccinations and face masks work and are highly effective in terms of slowing the spread of the virus in the transportation system,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said, Adding, “and they make travel safer for everyone.”


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