Important update: Healthcare facilities
CDC has updated select ways to operate healthcare systems effectively in response to COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more
UPDATE
Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.
UPDATE
The White House announced that vaccines will be required for international travelers coming into the United States, with an effective date of November 8, 2021. For purposes of entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include FDA approved or authorized and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines. More information is available here.
UPDATE
Travel requirements to enter the United States are changing, starting November 8, 2021. More information is available here.

Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Documentation of Recovery from COVID-19

Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Documentation of Recovery from COVID-19

Required for all air passengers two years of age or older boarding a flight from a foreign country to the United States

What You Need to Know
  • If you plan to travel internationally, you will need to get a COVID-19 viral test (regardless of vaccination status or citizenship) no more than 1 day before you travel by air into the United States. You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight.
  • If you recently recovered from COVID-19, you may instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).
Are You Fully Vaccinated for Air Travel to the United States?

You are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks (14 days) after your dose of an accepted single-dose vaccine
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after your second dose of an accepted 2-dose series
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after you received the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine (not placebo) in a clinical trial
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after you received the full series of a Novavax (or Covovax) COVID-19 vaccine (not placebo) in a phase 3 clinical trial
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after you received 2 doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart*

If you don’t meet these requirements, you are NOT fully vaccinated.

* CDC has not recommended the use of mix-and-match COVID-19 vaccine primary series. However, such strategies are increasingly common in many countries outside of the United States. Therefore, for the of purpose of interpreting vaccination records for travel to the United States, CDC will accept combinations of accepted COVID-19 vaccines.

See Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers for more information about necessary vaccination documentation.

COVID-19 Testing Requirement for International Travel to the United States

CDC amended its October 25, 2021 Order, titled, “Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States.” This amendment updates COVID-19 testing requirements for air passengers 2 years or older boarding a flight to the United States.

All air passengers 2 years or older with a flight departing to the US from a foreign country at or after 12:01am EST (5:01am GMT) on December 6, 2021, are required show a negative COVID-19 viral test result taken no more than 1 day before travel, or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days, before they board their flight.

  • Air passengers will also be required to confirm in the form of an attestation that the information they present is true.

For the full list of requirements and exemptions, please review the language in the Order.

International travel poses additional risks and even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new COVID-19 variants.

CDC recommends delaying international travel until you are fully vaccinated.

Aircraft Operators/ Airlines/ Crew

For additional information, resources, and FAQs please visit the following webpages:

Frequently Asked Questions

Overview

Yes, this Order applies to all air passengers 2 years or older traveling into the US, including US citizens and lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders) unless exempted.

Yes, at this time all air passengers, 2 years or older, traveling to the US, regardless of vaccination or antibody status, are required to provide a negative COVID-19 viral test result or documentation of recovery unless exempted.

No, the requirements of this Order only apply to air travel into the U.S.

No, the requirement to present a negative result of a COVID-19 viral test or documentation recovery from COVID-19 does not apply to air passengers with flights from a US territory to a US state.

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

Diplomats and special visa holders are not exempt from this Order.

Federal testing requirements must be met to board a plane to the US. Some state and local governments may have similar or more restrictive testing requirements for air passengers arriving in their jurisdictions. Always check and follow state and local recommendations or requirements related to travel in addition to federal requirements.

Test and Documentation Requirements

You must be tested with a viral test that could be either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT). Examples of available NAATs for SARS-CoV-2 include but are not restricted to reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP), transcription-mediated amplification (TMA), nicking enzyme amplification reaction (NEAR), and helicase-dependent amplification (HDA). The test used must be authorized for use by the relevant national authority for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the country where the test is administered. A viral test conducted for U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) personnel, including DOD contractors, dependents, and other U.S. government employees, and tested by a DOD laboratory located in a foreign country also meets the requirements of the Order.

Rapid tests are acceptable if they are a viral test that meet the requirements under the Order.

You can use a self-test (sometimes referred to as home test) that meets the following criteria:

  • The test must be a SARS-CoV-2 viral test (nucleic acid amplification test [NAAT] or antigen test) with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) OR the relevant national authority where the test is administered.
  • The testing procedure must include a telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test that provides real-time supervision remotely through an audio and video connection. Some FDA-authorized self-tests that include a telehealth service may require a prescription.
  • The telehealth provider must confirm your identity, observe the sample collection and testing procedures, confirm the test result, and issue a report that meets the requirements of CDC’s Order (see “What information must be included in the test result?” below).
  • Airlines and other aircraft operators must be able to review and confirm your identity and the test result details. You must also be able to present the documentation of test results to U.S. officials at the port of entry and local/state health departments, if requested.

Some countries may restrict importation of tests that are not authorized or registered there. If you are considering bringing a U.S.-authorized test with you for use outside of the United States, contact authorities at your destination for information before you travel.

A test result must be in the form of written documentation (paper or digital copy). The documentation must include:

  1. Type of test (indicating it is a NAAT or antigen test)
  2. Entity issuing the result (e.g., laboratory, healthcare entity, or telehealth service)
  3. Sample collection date
    • A negative test result must show the sample was taken no more than 1 day before the flight.
    • A positive test result for documentation of recovery from COVID-19 must show the sample was taken within the 90 days before the flight.
  4. Information that identifies the person (full name plus at least one other identifier such as date of birth or passport number)
  5. Test result

Before boarding a flight to the U.S., you will need to show a paper or digital copy of your test result for review by the airline and for review upon request by public health officials after you arrive in the U.S.

See Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers for information about necessary vaccination documentation.

People who have recovered from COVID-19 can continue to test positive for up to 3 months after their infection. CDC does not recommend retesting within 3 months after a person with COVID-19 first developed symptoms of COVID-19 (or the date their sample was taken for their first positive viral diagnostic test if their infection was asymptomatic).

If you have had a positive viral test on a sample taken during the past 90 days, and you have met the criteria to end isolation, you may travel instead with your positive viral test results and a signed letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official that states you have been cleared for travel. The positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.”

A letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official that clears you to end isolation, e.g., to return to work or school, can be used to show you are cleared to travel, even if travel isn’t specifically mentioned in the letter. The letter must have information that identifies you personally (e.g., name and date of birth) that matches the personal identifiers on your passport or other travel documents. The letter must be signed and dated on official letterhead that contains the name, address, and phone number of the healthcare provider or public health official who signed the letter.

If you have recovered from COVID-19 but are not able to obtain documentation of recovery that fulfills the requirements, you will need to show a negative COVID-19 viral test result from a sample taken no more than 1 day before your flight to the US departs.

Even if you have recovered from COVID-19, if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 you should isolate, not travel, and consult with a healthcare provider for testing recommendations.

Airlines and other aircraft operators must be able to confirm the test result and proof of vaccination and review other required information and should determine when translation is necessary for these purposes. If your documents are in a language other than English, you should check with your airline or aircraft operator before travel.

An attestation is a statement, writing, entry, or other representation under 18 U.S.C. § 1001 that confirms that the information provided is true. Willingly providing false or misleading information may lead to fines and other criminal penalties.

As required by United States federal law, all airlines or other aircraft operators will provide and collect the passenger attestation on behalf of the U.S. Government prior to boarding.

As required by United States federal law, all airlines or other aircraft operators will provide and collect the passenger attestation on behalf of the U.S. Government prior to boarding. Please check with the airline or aircraft operator for your flight to learn how the airline or aircraft operator will collect your attestation.

You are required to retain a paper or digital copy of your negative test result or documentation of recovery for the entirety of your itinerary as federal public health officials may request to see these documents at the port of entry. State, territorial, tribal and/or local health departments in the United States may also request them under their own public health authorities.

The attestation should be submitted to and retained by the airline or aircraft operator.

CDC recommends passengers keep their COVID-19 test results for 14 days after reaching their final destination in the United States in case they are requested to show it to a U.S. government official or a cooperation state or local public health authority.

CDC is not able to reimburse you for COVID-19 testing fees. You may wish to contact your insurance provider or the location that provided your test about payment options.

Timing Requirements

If you are 2 years or older, you must get tested no more than 1 day before your flight to the US departs.

The 1-day period is 1 day before the flight’s departure. The Order uses a 1-day time frame instead of 24 hours to provide more flexibility to the air passenger and aircraft operator. By using a 1-day window, test acceptability does not depend on the time of the flight or the time of day that the test sample was taken.

For example, if your flight is at 1pm on a Friday, you could board with a negative test that was taken any time on the prior Thursday.

If a trip is shorter than 1 day, a viral test taken in the United States can be used to fulfill the requirements of the Order as long as the specimen was taken no more than 1 day before your return flight to the U.S. departs. If your return travel is delayed longer than 1 day after the test, you will need to be retested before your return flight.

If you are considering this option, you should additionally consider, as a contingency when making your travel plans, the availability of testing capacity at your destination and the time frame needed to obtain results.

When making plans for travel, you should consider the availability of testing capacity at your destination and the time frame needed to obtain results.

For more information on where to obtain a test overseas, you should review the relevant U.S. Embassy websiteexternal icon.

You may consider contacting the airline regarding options for changing your departure date to allow time for a test, see if the airline has identified options for testing, or if there are options available for changing their flights to transit through a location where you can get tested before boarding your final flight to the United States.

You also have the option of getting tested en route during one of your connections. However, you should consider where in the connecting airport testing is available and if you would be able to access it while in transit. If you choose this strategy and are unable to get a test en route, you will not be able to board your flight to the United States. You should also be aware that if you test positive en route, you will not be allowed to continue your travel and may need to stay at that location until you end isolation.

Air passengers traveling to the US are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery. Airlines must confirm the negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before boarding. If you choose not to present a test result or documentation of recovery, the airline must not allow you to board.

Positive Test or COVID-19 Exposure

You should self-isolate and delay your travel if you develop symptoms or your pre-departure test result is positive until you have recovered from COVID-19. Airlines must refuse to board anyone who does not present a negative test result for COVID-19 or documentation of recovery.

If you know or suspect that you have COVID-19, you should self-isolate and NOT travel until you have met CDC’s criteria for discontinuing isolation.

If you are not fully vaccinated and have had close contact with a person with COVID-19 (i.e., who are considered exposed to COVID-19), you should self-quarantine and NOT travel until you have met criteria for discontinuing quarantine. If you are fully vaccinated, or have documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 90 days, you do not have to self-quarantine after exposure to a person with COVID-19 and can travel unless you have COVID-19 symptoms.

Connecting or Delayed Flights

If you booked an itinerary from a U.S. state or territory to another U.S. state or territory and the itinerary has you taking a connecting flight through a foreign country, CDC does not require that you be tested. An example of this situation is an itinerary booked between the Northern Mariana Islands (a U.S. territory) and the U.S. mainland via Japan.

However, some U.S. state and local governments and foreign governments may have their own testing requirements for air passengers arriving in their jurisdictions that may differ from U.S. federal requirements. Always check and follow recommendations or requirements related to travel to your destination in addition to U.S. federal requirements.

Yes.  Any flight entering the U.S. from a foreign country, even for a connection, will require testing before departure.

If your itinerary has you arriving to the US via one or more connecting flights, your test can be taken within 1 day before the departure of the first flight.

You also have the option of getting tested en route during one of your connections. However, you should consider where in the connecting airport testing is available and if you would be able to access it while in transit. If you choose this strategy and are unable to get a test en route, you will not be able to board your flight to the United States. You should also be aware that if you test positive en route, you will not be allowed to continue your travel and may need to stay at that location until you end isolation.

Please note, if you planned an itinerary incorporating one or more overnight stays en route to the US, you will need to make sure your test is not expired before your flight that will enter the US. You do not need to be retested if the itinerary requires an overnight connection because of limitations in flight availability.

If the first flight in your trip is delayed past the 1-day limit of testing due to a situation outside of your control (e.g., delays because of severe weather or aircraft mechanical problem), and that delay is 24 hours or less past the 1-day limit for testing, you do not need to be retested. If the delay is more than 24 hours past the 1- day limit, then you will need to be retested.

If a connecting flight in your trip is delayed past the 1-day limit of testing due to a situation outside of your control (e.g., delays because of severe weather or aircraft mechanical problem), and that delay is less than 48 hours past the 1-day limit for testing, you do not need to be retested. If the delay is more than 48 hours past the 1-day limit, then you will need to be retested.

CDC does not reimburse and is unable to help travelers get reimbursements for travel expenses because of canceled or delayed travel due to COVID-19 or testing requirements for air passengers flying to the US. While some companies may base their policies on CDC’s travel recommendations or requirements, each company establishes its own refund policies.

In some cases, trip cancellation insurance can protect your financial investment in a trip if you need to change your itinerary in the event of an international outbreak. Visit CDC’s Travelers’ Health website if you would like to learn more about travel insurance, including trip cancellation insurance.

Exemptions

Exemptions may be granted on an extremely limited basis when emergency travel (like an emergency medical evacuation) must occur to preserve someone’s life, health against a serious danger, or physical safety and testing cannot be completed before travel.

CDC may grant a humanitarian exemption in very limited circumstances only when an individual must travel to the United States to preserve health (e.g., emergency medical evacuations) or safety (e.g., violence) and is unable to access or complete the testing requirement before travel.

Individuals who fit the exemption criteria described in CDC’s Order may contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in or nearest the country from which they are departing for the United States. The embassy will then transmit this information to the CDC for consideration.

Please review the procedures for applying for a humanitarian exemption as listed on the webpage of the embassy or consulate where you will apply. This link will lead you to the relevant embassy or consulate: https://www.usembassy.govexternal icon

To facilitate the review of a humanitarian exemption request, individuals should submit the following information to the embassy or consulate for transmission to the CDC. All information needs to be completed in full and in English for the request to be sent to CDC.

  • Name (family name/surname, given name)
  • Passport #
  • Nationality
  • Cell phone number (including country code) of passenger or head of household if family unit
  • Email address of passenger or head of household if family unit
  • US destination address
    • Is US destination home address?
  • Flight itinerary, including any connecting flights
    • Airline
    • Flight #
    • Departure airport and date of departure
    • Arrival airport and date of arrival
  • Vaccination Status
    • If fully vaccinated, must provide
      • Name of vaccine product (or products if a combination)
      • Date of first dose
      • Date of second dose (if a two-dose series)
      • PDF or photograph of vaccination record
    • NOT Fully Vaccinated
  • Purpose of travel to the US and a brief explanation of why urgent travel is needed
  • Justification for humanitarian exemption for testing requirement (e.g., no testing available where passenger is located)
  • Documentation to support justification (e.g., medical records, orders for emergency evacuation)
  • Information regarding any other solutions that were sought prior to application (e.g., flight changes, testing en route, assistance in obtaining testing/vaccination, etc.)

Private flights or general aviation aircraft may transport a patient who has tested positive, or exposed contacts if they adhere to CDC’s Interim Guidance for Transporting or Arranging Transportation by Air into, from, or within the United States of People with COVID-19 or COVID-19 Exposure.