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Negative COVID-19 test

Flying to U.S.? You’ll need a COVID test or proof of recovery

Thursday, February 18, 2021 @ 1:19 PM | By Rosanna Berardi

Rosanna Berardi %>
Rosanna Berardi
According to a new order from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all international air passengers are now required to present a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery from the virus before boarding a flight to the U.S. The new policy applies to all air travellers, even U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Here are some specifics.

Presenting a negative test

Travellers presenting a negative COVID test must adhere to specific guidelines. First, the negative test must have been taken within three days of departure, and it must include sufficient verification information, including the name and contact information of the laboratory or health-care professional who performed the test, the type of test taken and the specimen collection date. In addition, the type of test taken is very important. The CDC requires either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), such as reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP), and transcription-mediated amplification (TMA).

Presenting proof of recovery

Travellers who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days are not required to present a negative COVID test before boarding a flight to the U.S.; rather, these individuals must present documentation of recovery. Documentation of recovery includes positive test results plus a letter from a health-care provider or a public health official stating that the individual has been cleared for travel. Please note that a clearance letter does not need to specifically mention travel. Even a letter from a health-care provider or a public health official confirming that the individual is authorized to end isolation (e.g., return to work or school) can be used and is sufficient to meet the CDC requirements.

Additional safety measures

Due to the nature of air travel, passengers are constantly coming into close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. As such, the CDC recommends additional COVID-19 safety measures above and beyond the predeparture requirements outlined above. More specifically, the CDC recommends that travellers get tested three to five days after their travels and stay home or otherwise self-quarantine for seven days upon arrival in the U.S. The seven-day quarantine is recommended even if the traveller tests negative. Alternatively, if travellers do not get tested upon arrival in the U.S., the CDC recommends they quarantine for 10 days rather than seven. Travellers are also encouraged to wear a mask, social distance and wash their hands.

The purpose of the new CDC Order is to preserve the health and safety of the American people and prevent the transmission of COVID-19 into the U.S. It is also a response to concerns of a newer, more infectious strain of the coronavirus that has been detected in the U.S. and other countries around the world. The travel requirements embodied in the CDC order act as an additional layer of protection to current travel restrictions and other COVID-19 measures put in place by officials.

Rosanna Berardi is the managing partner of Berardi Immigration Law and the CEO of High Wire Woman, where she helps working women create a blueprint to live their lives in a simpler way and take back their most precious commodity: their time.

Photo credit / Serhii Sobolevskyi ISTOCKPHOTO.COM 

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