As a result of a new Order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, international air passengers to the United States will no longer have to be tested for COVID-19 or show documentation of recovery from COVID before boarding, regardless of vaccination status or citizenship.
However, the CDC continues to require that foreign nationals provide proof that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID.
The CDC also recommends – but no longer requires – that all travelers boarding flights to the United States be tested for COVID no more than three days before their scheduled departures, and that they not travel if they are sick.
The new rules took effect at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, June 12.
The travel industry – which reportedly had lobbied for relaxation of COVID-related restrictions – applauded the CDC’s new Order.
More importantly, as pandemic conditions and medical remedies evolve, the Order reflects a change in the CDC’s approach to dealing with the virus.
The prior rule
The prior CDC rule required the following:
- That all international travelers inbound to the United States (including vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents) present proof of a negative COVID test taken no earlier than one day before their planned departures, or proof of recovery from COVID.
- That unvaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents, in addition, present proof of purchase of a viral test to be taken upon entry into the United States.
- That foreign nationals present proof that they were fully vaccinated against COVID.
The CDC has said that it “continues to evaluate the latest science and state of the pandemic and will reassess the need for a testing requirement if the situation changes.”