In response to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shortened the timeline for required COVID testing before foreign nationals depart for the United States. Previously, the COVID test had to be taken no earlier than three days before departure. Now, the test must be taken no earlier than one day before departure.
In addition, the testing requirement now applies to all international travelers, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status. Now, even vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents need to have this negative COVID test one day before their scheduled departures to the United States.
These changes took effect on Monday.
Regional COVID-19 travel restrictions had been rescinded as of November 8 before the latest policy changes. The November 8 policy required that all foreign nationals be fully vaccinated before boarding flights inbound to the United States and continued the then-existing policy requiring proof of a negative COVID test taken within three days of inbound travel. Unvaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents had to present proof of a negative COVID test within one day of boarding a flight to the United States and to have proof of purchase of a viral test to be taken upon entry. Under the November 8 policy, there were no restrictions on vaccinated inbound U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
Except for the changes that took effect this week, the November 8 requirements and their limited exceptions remain unchanged. Thus, taken together, the current policy is as follows:
All international travelers inbound to the United States (including vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents) must present proof of a negative COVID test taken no earlier than one day before their planned departures.
Unvaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents must, in addition, present proof of purchase of a viral test to be taken upon entry into the United States.
Foreign nationals must, in addition, present proof that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
We will continue to provide updates as the policies evolve.
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