U.S. Drops Covid Testing Requirement For International Arrivals By Air

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It was announced earlier today that the U.S. will be dropping its requirement for all international arrivals by air to provide a negative Covid test result in order to enter the country. All Covid testing restrictions to travel to the United States will no longer be effective as of 12:01 a.m. ET on Sunday, June 12.

It was first reported by CNN early on Friday that the Biden administration would be dropping the requirement, and it was later confirmed by the new White House press secretary, Kevin Munoz.

According to the announcement, the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention will reassess the rule after 90 days, taking into account any possible new variants that might emerge.

travelers at a departure terminal at the airport in the United States

Testing Requirement Has Been In Place Since January Of 2021 – To End June 12, 2022

The Covid testing requirement for air travelers to the U.S. began back in January of 2021. When it was first introduced, the requirement was for all travelers aged 2 and over to show a negative rapid antigen test result taken at least 72 hours from departure.

Then in November, the administration tightened the requirements to only 1 day for all unvaccinated U.S. travelers, keeping the 3-day window for fully vaccinated travelers. At the same time, all unvaccinated non-U.S. citizens in barred from entering the country (with limited exceptions).

Covid testing requirements for travel to the United States were further tightened in December in the midst of the Omicron wave, and it was required for all travelers aged 2 and over to the US to show a negative Covid test result within one day of travel, regardless of citizenship.

And the 1-day testing window has remained in place ever since.

covid test counter at airport

Testing Restrictions Only Apply To Air Travelers

It’s important to note that these new travel rules will only apply to international air travelers, as the land border between the U.S.-Mexico and the U.S.-Canada doesn’t require travelers to show a negative Covid test to enter.

According to the official US government guidance, all non-US travelers via land or sea might be required to show proof of full vaccination against Covid, however. This rule has been in effect since January 2022.

Here are the current testing requirements in the US:

  • All passengers arriving via air to the US (mainland USA as well as its territories) must show a negative Covid test result taken no later than 1-day from their flight departure.
  • Testing requirements apply to all persons over the age of 2, regardless of Covid vaccination status.

As of June 12, 2022, these requirements will no longer be in effect.

Starting June 12, the 1-day negative test requirement ends for:

  • Returning U.S. citizens, both vaccinated and unvaccinated
  • International arrivals, only fully vaccinated, as a vaccine requirement still exists for non-U.S. citizens to enter.

What About The Vaccine Requirement For International Travelers?

While a negative Covid test will no longer be required for air travelers to the US, unvaccinated non-US citizens and residents still won’t be able to visit the country for non-essential reasons.

So even though the testing requirements have been dropped, the United States won’t be joining this list of countries that have dropped all of their Covid-related entry requirements for international arrivals just yet.

Announcement Follows Months Of Pressure By Airlines And Travel Industry

Many companies in the travel industry including most US-based airlines have been pressing the Biden administration for months to drop the testing requirement for international air arrivals, arguing that it is no longer effective as a number of other nations have dropped their requirements.

Canada, Mexico, as well as many countries throughout Europe (including the UK) dropped their testing requirements while the US has held out. Many airline officials made positive remarks following today’s announcement.

Girl in hat with backpack traveling in the airport

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories

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