Order: Requirement for Airlines to Collect Designated Information for Passengers Destined for the United States Who are Departing From, or Were Otherwise Present In, the Democratic Republic of the Congo or the Republic of Guinea

There are currently outbreaks of Ebola Virus Disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Guinea. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an Order on March 2, 2021 requiring airlines to collect and transmit to CDC contact information for passengers who were in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Republic of Guinea within the 21 days before their arrival or attempted arrival in the United States.

This Order will be effective on March 4, 2021.

To view the order, click here pdf icon[PDF – 6 pages].

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is affected by this Order?

This Order applies to:

  • all airlines and aircraft operators conducting any passenger-carrying operation destined for the United States transporting passengers who are departing from, or were otherwise present in, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or the Republic of Guinea (Guinea) within 21 days of the date of the person’s entry or attempted entry into the United States; and
  • all air passengers destined for the United States who are departing from, or were otherwise present in, the DRC or Guinea within the previous 21 days of the date of the person’s entry or attempted entry into the United States.

What is included in CDC’s Order requiring the collection of passenger data?  

Beginning on Thursday, March 4, 2021, airlines and aircraft operators will be required to collect and transmit passenger contact information to the U.S. government for the purposes of public health follow-up, such as health education, risk assessment, and symptom monitoring or other appropriate public health interventions, including travel restrictions when indicated.

Why is this Order needed now?

There are currently outbreaks of Ebola Virus Disease (Ebola) in DRC and Guinea.  Air travel has the potential to transport people, some of whom may have been exposed to a communicable disease, like Ebola, anywhere across the globe in less than 24 hours. While the risk of importation of Ebola via international air travel is generally thought to be low, the potential consequences of one such importation, particularly amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, could have an outsized impact on public health.

This Order follows the February 2020, interim final rule that authorized CDC to require airlines and other aircraft operators to collect certain contact data from passengers before they board a flight to the United States, and to provide the information to CDC within 24 hours of a CDC Order.

What information is being collected and how does CDC protect data they collect about travelers?

CDC has identified the minimum amount of information needed to locate travelers reliably after they arrive in the United States. Passengers will be required to provide their full name, address while in the United States, primary contact phone number, secondary or emergency contact phone number, email address.  Additional data elements may be needed if the information is provided to CDC through a format that doesn’t link with other passenger data in CBP systems.

Airlines and other aircraft operators will collect this information and submit it electronically to CBP, which may transmit the information to CDC for public health follow up activities.

Personally identifiable information (e.g., names, addresses) provided to CDC is stored on secure CDC servers and shared securely with health departments at passengers’ destinations. The information is accessible only to CDC staff and other public health officials who need the information for official public health purposes. CDC and CBP will retain, use, delete, or otherwise destroy the designated information in accordance with the Federal Records Act, applicable Privacy Act System of Records Notices, and other applicable law.

How does CDC use this data?

The data collected will enable CDC and state and local public health departments to:

  • Monitor travelers for signs and symptoms of Ebola
  • Quickly identify anyone with symptoms of Ebola and their contacts
  • Ask symptomatic persons to isolate and their contacts to self-quarantine
  • Ensure any travelers who develop symptoms of Ebola receive appropriate medical evaluation and care
  • Educate travelers about Ebola and how to take steps to care for themselves and help protect others in their home and community

Are there other actions that CDC or other federal agencies are taking to respond to these outbreaks?

The US government will also begin to redirect flights carrying passengers from DRC and Guinea to six US airports where over 96% of air passengers from these countries already arrive. Passengers can expect their contact information to be verified by US government officials on arrival for accuracy and completeness. CDC will share passengers’ contact information securely with state and local health departments at passengers’ final destinations in the United States. 

The US government, including the Department of Health and Human Services  (HHS)/CDC and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/CPB, continue to monitor the current outbreaks of Ebola in DRC and Guinea and are working with other federal, state, local, and international partners to assess and support response to the situation and to consider additional public health measures to protect the public’s health. CDC continues to evaluate the risk of Ebola spreading to the US by considering travel volume and travel patterns from the outbreak areas to the US, allowing the agency  to provide health information on safe travel practices and to support international partners’ border screening measures at key airports and ports in the affected and neighboring countries.

Where can I find out more about the current outbreaks in DRC and Guinea?

Please visit this website for more information: Ebola Outbreaks