Aircraft Operators/Airlines/Crew FAQs Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Non-U.S. citizen Air Passengers who Are Nonimmigrants Traveling to the United States

See also Technical Instructions for Implementing Presidential Proclamation Advancing Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic and CDC’s Order for more guidance for Aircraft Operators and Airlines.

Airline Checklist and Scripts

Airline staff can use this checklist to help them confirm passengers’ COVID-19 proof of vaccination and negative test result or documentation of recovery (as applicable) before they board flights to the United States, as required by CDC’s Orders. Click here to view the Airline Checklist pdf icon[PDF – 7 pages].

Additionally, airline staff can read the following scripts to passengers to prepare them for possible COVID-documentation checks by port of entry public health officials. There are two scripts for airlines, one to read for passengers at boarding and another at arrival. The scripts are translated into 10 languages.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the attestation have a section related to the COVID-19 testing requirement to board a flight to the United States?

To ease the burden for airlines and aircraft operators, CDC has provided a combined passenger disclosure and attestation that fulfills the requirements of two CDC Orders on one attestation form: Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test Result or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Airline Passengers Arriving into the United States Presidential Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Will CDC release the attestation form in other languages besides English?

At this time, the attestation form is not available in other languages. CDC will release the attestation in Arabic, French, Russian, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish.

Airlines and aircraft operators may also use a third party to provide translations of the attestation. However, the airline or aircraft operator is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of any translation. The airline or aircraft operator may not shift this responsibility to a third party.

Can airlines/aircraft operators use an attestation only in a foreign language (rather than an English translation), so that the only version retained for two years would be in a foreign language?

Yes, airlines/aircraft operators may use and retain an attestation only in a foreign language.

Do airlines and operators of private flights or general aviation aircraft need to keep copies of proof of vaccination?

No, passengers must show a proof of vaccination, if applicable, to airline employees or the aircraft operator before boarding, but the airline or aircraft operator does not need to retain copies of the proof of vaccination.

How long do airlines and operators of private flights or general aviation aircraft need to retain the passenger attestations?

Operators of private flights and general aviation aircraft must maintain passenger attestations for two years, per the Orders.

What elements of the attestation do airlines need to retain?

For digitized attestations, airlines must retain which requirements the passenger or authorized representative attested to (e.g., fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and a negative pre-departure test result for COVID-19) as well as an authenticated digital signature, or other digital proof that the person who is making the attestation is the passenger or authorized representative (e.g., by swiping credit card, scanning passport, entering in confirmation number).

For paper copy attestations, airlines must, at a minimum, retain the pages of the attestation that show which requirements the passenger or authorized representative attested to as well as the signature. Retention may be in the form of the original paper copy attestation or a digitized scan of the required elements.

Can the CDC or airlines provide a simpler version?

At this time, there is no alternative form of the attestation. Airlines and aircraft operators must use the language in the current attestation without alteration.

Can air carriers and operators create digital versions of the attestation? If digital forms are used, what constitutes ‘signing’?

Air carriers and operators must ensure that the attestation is submitted by each passenger or an authorized representative before the flight’s departure.

Digitization of the hard copy form is encouraged if air carriers and operators are able to incorporate a process by which an authenticated digital signature, or an electronic system that uses unique identifiers to ensure the person filling out the electronic attestation form is the passenger or an authorized representative. For example, similar methods to those used to verify the identity of a passenger using a pre-boarding kiosk or an air carrier’s or operator’s website or app to obtain a boarding pass could be used to ensure that the passenger or authorized representative is the individual completing the attestation.

Alternatively, the air carrier or operator can use authenticated digital signatures (e.g., DocuSign) or an electronic version of an attestation that ensures only the individual passenger, or their authorized representative, has access to the data entry process (e.g., after keying in username/password or other identifying and/or itinerary-specific information as part of the pre-boarding or check in process).

Either method is acceptable if the air carrier or operator can be reasonably certain that the individual, or their authorized representative, is the only person that has access to the data entry process required to submit the attestation, and digital version, is maintained for 2 years, and can be provided to the CDC upon request.

Who is a Covered Individual under CDC’s Order implementing the Presidential Proclamation?  

  • A Covered Individual is any noncitizen who is a nonimmigrant seeking to enter the United States by air travel. This term does not apply to crew members of airlines or other aircraft operators if such crew members and operators adhere to all industry standard protocols for the prevention of COVID-19, as set forth in relevant guidance for crew members’ health issued by CDC or the Federal Aviation Administration in coordination with the CDC.
  • Covered Individuals include:
    • Any non-U.S. citizen seeking to enter the United States by air travel with a nonimmigrant visa listed in “Nonimmigrant Visa Categories” on the U.S. Department of State’s webpage Directory of Visa Categoriesexternal icon, as well as K nonimmigrant visa holders;
    • Any non-U.S. citizen seeking to enter the United States by air travel who has been granted an Electronic System for Travel Authorization external icon(ESTA) as part of the Visa Waiver Programexternal icon;
    • o Any non-U.S. citizen seeking to enter the United States by air travel as a nonimmigrant under the Guam-Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Visa Waiver Program; and
    • Any non-U.S. citizen otherwise seeking to enter the United States by air travel as a nonimmigrant in any other category exempt from the general requirement to present a nonimmigrant visa for admission (e.g., certain Canadian nationals).

Who is not a Covered Individual under the CDC’s Order implementing the Presidential Proclamation?

  • U.S. citizens;
  • U.S. nationals;
  • U.S. lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders);
  • Non-U.S. citizens seeking to enter the United States as immigrants (including pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa). An immigrant is any non-U.S. citizen who has a visa listed in “Immigrant Visa Categories” on the U.S. Department of State’s webpage Directory of Visa Categoriesexternal icon; it does not include K nonimmigrant visa holders, who are Covered Individuals (see above);
  • Non-US citizens seeking to enter the United States by land or sea travel; and
  • Crew members of airlines or other aircraft operators on official duty status, if such crewmembers and operators adhere to all industry standard protocols for the prevention of COVID-19 as set forth in Security Alert for Operators (SAFO) 20009 pdf icon[PDF – 12 pages]external icon.

CDC’s Order implementing the Presidential Proclamation has no effect on several groups, including:

  • Non-U.S. citizens eligible for asylum;
  • Non-U.S. citizens eligible for withholding of removal;
  • Non-U.S. citizens eligible for protection under the regulations issued pursuant to the legislation implementing the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
  • Non-U.S. citizens admitted to the United States as refugeesexternal icon;
    • Persons with a visa 92 or 93 (Follow-to-Join) status; and
  • Non-U.S. citizens granted parole into the United States.

NOTE: Certain categories of non-U.S. citizens, including immigrant visa applicants/holders, refugees, parolees, and asylees, and those seeking to enter the United States by land or sea travel may be subject to separate COVID-19 vaccination requirements. These individuals are advised to consult and become familiar with all applicable U.S. requirements for entry.

Which categories of unvaccinated nonimmigrant visa holders may board a flight to the United States from a country with limited vaccine availability? 

  • All unvaccinated holders of nonimmigrant visas (excluding those traveling on B1 or B2 visas, i.e., business and tourist visas) may board flights to the United States if they are citizens of any country with limited vaccine availability.
  • For a list of nonimmigrant visa categories, see “Nonimmigrant Visa Categories” on the U.S. Department of State’s webpage entitled Directory of Visa Categoriesexternal icon.  Please note that although K nonimmigrants are not included on that list, K nonimmigrants are covered by CDC’s Order implementing the Presidential Proclamation and should be permitted to board a flight to the United States if a citizen of a country with limited vaccine availability, along with other nonimmigrant visa categories.