June 15, 2021

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Foreign passengers traveling to the United States must submit negative COVID-19 test

Photo: EFE / Arturo Wong

If you are planning to travel abroad, know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order requiring that all foreign passengers arriving in the United States (USA). USA) by plane have a screening test performed no later than 3 days before their flight departure and present proof of a negative test or documentation demonstrating their recovery from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the plane.

The CDC order, issued on January 12, 2021, will go into effect on January 26, 2021 and will replace the order of December 25, 2020, which requires the submission of a negative COVID-19 test before departure by all passengers arriving in the US from the UK.

This order applies to all passengers, 2 years of age and older, traveling to the US by air, including US citizens and legal residents.

The order to present a COVID-19 screening or COVID-19 recovery documentation does not apply to passengers flying from a US territory or possession to a US state.

US territories and possessions include American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

The CDC does not recommend getting screened again within three months of receiving a positive viral test result, as long as you don’t have symptoms of COVID-19.

If you have received a positive viral test result in the past 3 months, and you have met the criteria to end isolation, you may travel with documentation of positive viral test results and a letter from your healthcare provider or from a public health official stating that they have been authorized to travel. The positive test result and the letter are called “recovery documentation.”

Airlines must confirm negative screening or recovery documentation for all passengers prior to boarding. If a passenger decides not to present the result of a test or recovery documentation, the airline will not authorize him to board the plane.

People who test positive or show symptoms before leaving should voluntarily isolate themselves and postpone their trip until they have recovered from COVID-19.

The CDC stipulates that airlines must prevent the embarkation of anyone – from abroad – who does not present a negative COVID-19 test or recovery documentation.

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