Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States

If you plan to travel internationally, get tested before you travel by air into the United States (US), or be prepared to show proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel.

On January 12, 2021, CDC issued an Order requiring all air passengers arriving to the US from a foreign country to get tested no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to provide proof of the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight. This Order will go into effect on January 26, 2021.

Frequent questions

Does this requirement apply to US citizens?

This Order applies to all air passengers traveling into the US, including US citizens and legal permanent residents.

Can foreign nationals under the Presidential Proclamation travel restriction now enter the US with a negative test?

Several Presidential proclamations established restrictions on the entry of certain travelers into the US in an effort to help slow the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

With specific exceptions, foreign nationals who have been in any of the following countries during the past 14 days may not enter the US. For a full list of countries under the proclamations, visit Viajeros con prohibición de entrada a los Estados Unidos.

When do I need to get a test to travel to the US? And what kind of test do I need?

Get tested no more than 3 days before your flight to the US departs. Remember to have a viral test (NAAT or antigen test) to determine if you have an ongoing COVID-19 infection. You must also receive your results before the departure of your flight and have documentation as proof of your results, which you must present to the airline.

What should I do if I recently recovered from COVID-19?

The CDC does not recommend getting screened again within three months of receiving a positive viral test result, as long as you don’t have symptoms of COVID-19. If you have received a positive viral test result in the last 3 months, and have met the criteria to end isolation, you may travel instead with documentation of your positive viral test results and a letter from your 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.”

Who is checking to make sure that people have a negative test or documentation of recovery before they board a plane to the US?

The airline will confirm a COVID-19 negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before boarding.

What happens if I don’t take a test and want to travel to the US?

Air passengers traveling to the US are required to provide 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 a passenger chooses not to provide a test result or documentation of recovery, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.

What happens if my test result is positive?

People should aislamiento voluntario y retraso their travel if symptoms develop or a pre-departure test result is positive until they have recovered from COVID-19. Airlines must refuse to board anyone who does not provide a negative test result for COVID-19 or documentation of recovery.

What is a verifiable test result?

A verifiable test result is a written document (printed or electronic) of the result of a laboratory test. The detection test must be of the viral type (NAAT or antigen) and the negative result must be presented to the airline before boarding. The test result documentation must include information that identifies the person, a specimen collection date and the type of test. A negative test result must show test was done within the 3 days before the flight. A positive test result must show the test was done within the 3 months before the flight.

What kind of documentation of my test result do I need to provide?

CDC requires that air passengers arriving in the US have a paper or electronic copy of their test result for review by the airline before you board and for potential review by public health officials after you arrive in the US.

If I tested negative before my flight, do I need to get another test when I get to the US?

CDC recommends that travelers get screened 3 to 5 days after travel AND stay home or volunteer elsewhere for 7 days after travel. Even if your test result is negative, stay home for the prescribed 7 days. If you don’t have a screening test, it is safest to stay home for 10 days. Always follow the recommendations and follow state and local travel requirements.

All travelers (including those who have recovered from COVID-19) should remember to wear a mask, keep at least 6 feet away from people who do not live in your home, and wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing and before eating. Travelers should look for COVID-19 symptoms and take your temperature if you are not feeling well. Anyone sick with symptoms of COVID-19 should voluntary isolation and delay further travel.

For more information, visit After an international trip

Do I need to get a test before leaving the US?

CDC recommends that you get tested with a prueba viral (NAAT or antigen) 1-3 days before you travel internationally. Travelers should additionally follow any requirements at their destination.

When does this order go into effect?

This Order will go into effect on January 26, 2021.

Does this order apply to all flights?  Or just commercial flights?

This order applies to all flights, including private flights and general aviation aircraft (charter flights). Passengers traveling by air into the US are required to have proof of testing regardless of flight type.

Does the testing requirement apply to aircraft crew members?

Crew members on official duty, whether working or in an assigned deadhead status (transportation of a flight crew member as a passenger or non-operating flight crew member), are exempt from the testing requirement as long as they follow industry standard protocols for the prevention of COVID-19 as set forth in relevant Safety Alerts for Operators (SAFOs) issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

If I have one or more connecting flights to the US, does the 3-day period apply to the first flight or the last one?

If you are arriving on a direct flight to the US, your test must be done within the 3 days before your flight to the US departs. If you are arriving to the US via one or more connecting flights, your test must be done in the 3 days before the first flight in your itinerary, but only if the connecting flights were booked as a single passenger record with a final destination in the US and each flight is no longer than 24 hours long. If your connecting flight to the US was booked separately or a flight in your itinerary lasts longer than 24 hours, you will need to get tested within the 3 days before your flight that arrives in the US.

What happens if my flight is delayed and it goes over the 3-day limit for testing?

If your flight is delayed before departure, you will need to get re-tested if the delay causes your test to fall outside of the 3-day pre-departure testing period requirement.

If I am connecting through the US to another country, do I still need to get tested?

Yes.  Any flight entering the US, even for a connection, will require testing before departure.

What should airlines and operators of private flights or general aviation aircraft do with passenger attestations?

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

Do airlines and operators of private flights or general aviation aircraft need to keep copies of passenger test results?

No, passengers must show a copy of their test results to airline employees or the aircraft operator before boarding, but the airline or aircraft operator does not need to retain copies of test results.

What if I have had a COVID-19 vaccine?  Do I still need a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19?

Yes, all air passengers traveling to the US, regardless of vaccination status, are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery.

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