Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test for All Air Passengers Arriving from the UK to the US
If you travel from the United Kingdom to the United States, make plans to get tested before travel.
On March 14, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamationexternal icon to suspend the entry of foreign nationals who visited the United Kingdom in the past 14 days. Citizens and lawful permanent residents of the United States, certain family members, and other individuals who meet specified exceptions whoexternal icon have been in the UK in the past 14 days are allowed to enter the United States.
On December 25, 2020, CDC issued an Order pdf icon[PDF – 6 pages] requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test for all air passengers arriving from the United Kingdom (UK) to the United States (US). This Order will go into effect at 7:01pm EST on December 27, 2020 (12:01am GMT on December 28, 2020).
Update: This Order will be replaced at 12:01am EST (5:01am GMT) on January 26, 2021 by the Requirement for Negative Pre-Departure Covid-19 Test Result or Documentation of Recovery from Covid-19 for All Airline or Other Aircraft Passengers Arriving into the United States from Any Foreign Country pdf icon[PDF – 9 pages].
Frequently Asked Questions
Does this requirement apply to US citizens?
This Order applies to all air passengers, 2 years of age or older, traveling from the UK to the US, including US citizens and legal permanent residents.
Are foreign nationals no longer subject to the travel restrictions from the UK in the Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirusexternal icon if they can show a negative test or documentation of recovery?
The CDC order does not replace the Presidential Proclamation. Therefore, providing proof of a negative test result for COVID-19 or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight does not exempt a foreign national from the travel restrictions outlined in the Presidential proclamation.
With specific exceptions, this and other Presidential proclamations suspend and limit entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, all aliens who were physically present within specific countries, including the UK, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.
For a full list of countries and links to the proclamations on the White House website, visit Travelers Prohibited from Entry to the United States.
When do I need to get a test to travel from the UK to the US? And what kind of test do I need?
Get tested no more than 3 days before your flight to the US from the UK departs. Make sure to be tested with a viral test (NAAT or antigen test) to determine if you are currently infected with COVID-19. Also make sure that you receive your results before your flight departs and have documentation of your results to show the airline.
Does this requirement apply if I have a layover in the UK?
No, this requirement does not apply to people with layovers of less than 24 hours in the UK.
Does this requirement apply if my travel started in the UK, but my flight to the US has a layover in another country/I’m transiting through another country on my way to the US?
If your travel starts in the UK, you are required to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling to the US.
Who is checking to make sure that people have a negative test before they board a plane in the UK?
The airline will confirm a COVID-19 negative test result for all passengers before boarding.
What if I recently recovered from COVID-19?
CDC does not recommend getting tested again in the three months after a positive viral test, as long as you do not have symptoms of COVID-19. If you have had a positive viral test in the past 3 months, and you have met the criteria to end isolation, travel with a copy of your test results and a letter from your doctor or health department that states you have been cleared for travel.
How should airlines handle passengers with documentation of recently recovering from COVID-19?
CDC is exercising its enforcement discretion to relieve airlines of the legal obligation to verify a negative COVID-19 test result or collect an attestation for the subset of travelers traveling with a copy of a positive test result and a letter from their doctors or health departments stating that they have been cleared for travel.
What happens if I don’t take a test and want to travel to the US from the UK?
Air passengers traveling from the UK to the US are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers before boarding. If a passenger chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.
What happens if I test positive?
People should self-isolate and delay their travel if symptoms develop or a pre-departure test result is positive. Airlines must refuse to board anyone who does not provide a negative test result for COVID-19.
What is a verifiable test result?
A verifiable test result must be in the form of written documentation (paper or electronic copy) of a laboratory test result. Testing must be performed using a viral test (NAAT or antigen), and negative results must be provided to the airline prior to boarding. The test result documentation must include information that identifies the person, a specimen collection date showing test was done within the 3 days before the flight, the type of test, and a negative result.
Do I need to get another test when I get to the United States?
CDC recommends that travelers get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home or otherwise self-quarantine for 7 days after travel. Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days. If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 10 days. Always follow state and local recommendations or requirements related to travel.
Remember to wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet apart from people who are not in your household, and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing and before eating. Look for symptoms of COVID-19, and take your temperature if you feel sick.
For more information, visit After You Travel Internationally | CDC
Do I need to get a test before returning to the UK?
CDC recommends that you get tested with a viral test (NAAT or antigen) 1-3 days before you travel from the US to the UK. Travelers to the UK should additionally follow any requirements of UK authoritiesexternal icon.
Why does this only apply to travel from the UK?
The UK recently discovered a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 pdf icon[PDF – 6 pages]. While it is known and expected that viruses constantly change through mutation leading to the emergence of new variants, preliminary analysis in the UK suggests that the discovered variant may be more transmissible than previously circulating variants, with an estimated potential to increase the transmissibility of the virus by up to 70%.
Why aren’t we banning travel from the UK?
On March 14, 2020, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation to suspend the entry of foreign nationals who visited the UK in the past 14 days. This has reduced air travel to the US from the UK by 90%. This additional testing requirement will strengthen protection of the American public to improve their health and safety and ensure responsible international travel.
When does this order take effect?
This Order will go into effect at 7:01pm EST on December 27, 2020 (12:01 AM GMT on December 28, 2020).