FAQs for Public Health Do Not Board and Lookout Lists

1. What is the Do Not Board list?

CDC established the Do Not Board list in June 2007, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security, to prevent commercial air travel by people who are contagious with certain diseases of public health concern, such as infectious tuberculosis and measles. Travelers on the Do Not Board list (a public health list) are not part of the No Fly listexternal icon, which is used for law enforcement purposes.

2. How does the Do Not Board list work?

A person on the Do Not Board list is prevented from obtaining a boarding pass for any flight into, out of, or within the United States. The Transportation Security Administration enforces this list for commercial air travel.

3. What is a Public Health Lookout list?

The Public Health Lookout prompts a public health review of a person’s infectious disease status before they are admitted into the United States. Customs and Border Protection enforces this tool to put the person in contact with public health authorities to ensure appropriate isolation, if indicated, and other public health management. Having a Public Health Lookout attached to a person’s name does not prevent travel or necessarily deny entry into the United States. A Public Health Lookout is issued to complement the Do Not Board, alerting the Department of Homeland Security when a person who has been placed on this list tries to enter the United States at any port of entry (seaport, airport, land border).

4. Why are both tools needed?

The public health Do Not Board and Lookout lists are two different but complementary tools for controlling travel. TSA administers the Do Not Board, which prevents infected persons from flying. The Public Health Lookout list is managed by Customs and Border Protection and prevents people from crossing the US border. Since its inception in 2007, both lists have been primarily used for tuberculosis cases.

5. What authority does the United States government have to put people on the Do Not Board list?

Under the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (49 U.S.C. 114), TSA may take actions necessary to mitigate threats to aviation and transportation security, including denying boarding to travelers CDC identifies as likely posing a public health threat to passengers or crew.

6. What diseases do these restrictions cover?

Public health Do Not Board and Lookout cases have been for infectious tuberculosis, with a very small number for measles. However, these border health tools can be used for any communicable diseases that pose a serious public health threat. Since 2020, CDC has used these authorities to restrict travel of people with COVID-19 and close contacts who are recommended to quarantine.