Do I need a Covid test to fly to the USA?

Simon Wells
Authored by Simon Wells
Posted Sunday, October 31, 2021 - 6:14am

Visiting the United States of America is a dream for many all over the world. Whether it’s to witness the Statue of Liberty in person or to experience being in the city of Wall Street, USA amazes all. In fact, when it comes to travelling, the country welcomes all kinds of travellers including solo, couple, business, and families. Further, the beautiful beaches, vast landscapes, and astonishing skyscrapers attract all. Click here to know more about travelling to the US.

Even though a number of people travel to the USA, the rise of the pandemic last year resulted in closing borders and very few people were allowed to enter the country. With an improvement in the COVID situation, the government has relieved several restrictions associated with entering the US. However, many remain in force. So if you are planning to visit the country, you must follow certain steps to ensure safe travels. In this article, we’ll discuss in detail the requirements that are necessary for travelling to the US. If you don’t know if you need to get a COVID test for flying here, you’ll come to know in this article. So without further delay, let’s get you ready for travelling to one of the most popular countries of the world.

COVID-19 Testing

Starting earlier this year, the CDC began to require all air passengers to demonstrate a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of departure. This includes all travellers – foreign, legal permanent residents, and US citizens. Passengers who are below the age of 2 are exempted from this requirement. In case the passenger has been infected within the past 90 days, they can avoid the test and show a proof of being recovered from the disease. Therefore, airlines are required to confirm proof of latest recovery or a negative test result for all passengers before being boarded. In case the passenger fails to show such a report, the airline has the right to deny boarding.

If the country lacks in the testing capacity of SARS-CoV-2, some cases may be exempted. This is applicable for the situation when the nation of departure cannot meet the necessities for providing a negative PCR test report within 72 hours of the departure. However, no waivers are available for the process for passengers testing positive with the virus.

Air carriers or individuals looking for allowance of boarding, who believe that they meet the criteria of a waiver of testing must contact the embassy or seek advice from the place they are departing. They must additionally provide certain information. This will then be submitted by the consulate or the embassy to CDC as a request to be considered.

In order to apply for a humanitarian exemption, the passenger is required to meet the criteria given below.

  • Testing prior to departure cannot be completed or accessed prior to travelling.
  • The travel is an emergency and is associated with safety and health like medical evacuation.

Each passenger is required to provide the following information:

  • Nationality, name, and passport number
  • Country code and cell phone number
  • Email ID
  • Destination address in the U.S.
  • Is the destination address the home address?
  • Date of departure
  • Flight itinerary along with connecting flights
  • If the submitting entity is other than the passenger, the name
  • Company’s name if being submitted on passenger’s behalf
  • POC’s email ID and phone
  • Reason for travelling to the US (provide an explanation of the reason for travelling being urgent and the way in which travelling can contribute to the safety and health of the passenger)
  • Justifying testing waiver like impact on safety and health or no testing available
  • Documentation for supporting justification for waiver of testing like order for evacuation or medical records

Other requirements

Apart from the requirement of testing, the passengers travelling to the US are required to wear face masks and ensure proper social distancing. This is not only required at the airports but also in the country as well. Not only can a failure to adhere to these norms can result in a fine but also give a poor reflection of the travellers. While the mandate of face coverings or masks vary from state to state, they are essential in almost all the places.

Some states require passengers to quarantine for 2 weeks from the date of arrival in case they are travelling from a region of high risk. Penalties for breaching regulations will differ between every state and can also differ in various regions of the same state.

The Bottom Line

To travel to the U.S., you’ll be required to get a negative COVID 72-hours before arrival. However, according to certain humanitarian exemptions, you can get a testing waiver that was discussed in this article.

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