Updated: Negative Covid Test & 7 Day Quarantine Required For International Travelers To The U.S.

Posted on January 21, 2021
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Covid test for air travel

UPDATE: Per a new executive order signed by President Biden today, all international travelers entering the U.S. will quarantine for 7 days. This will in addition to needing a negative Covid test before entering any U.S. port of entry, either by sea, air or land. This mandate will go into effect on Tuesday, January 226, 2021.

Additionally, people will be required to wear masks in airports, on commercial aircraft, trains, public maritime vessels — including ferries — intercity bus services and all public transportation. This is already been made mandatory in all federal buildings around the U.S. the day President Biden took charge.

According to a new requirement proposed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), all international air travelers entering the U.S. will be mandatorily required to present a negative Covid test before boarding a flight. This test may be taken up to three days before their flight departs. CDC requires that all international travelers will also have to provide a written document as proof of the negative test results or show that they are in a currently recovered state from the virus.

These mandatory test requirements will be implemented starting January 26, 2021. 

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All international airlines operating flights to the U.S. will be responsible to confirm and report these negative tests. Anyone failing the Covid test or not having proper documentation showing the same will be denied boarding the flight.

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In September 2020, most international airports in the U.S.had paused Covid pre-screenings. These included temperature checks, personalized health questionnaires, revelation of travel history and a mandate for quarantine, usually between 1-14 days. Now CDC reiterates that long-haul flights are particularly vulnerable to potential in-flight transmission of the virus because it’s harder to avoid crowding and masks are difficult to keep on for the entire trip.

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Moreover, by ensuring safer international travel, these measures are expected to give travelers more confidence and resurrect the travel industry. Per December 2020’s travel statistics, travel has dipped by nearly 83% ever since the pandemic began. By implementing safer traveling procedures, U.S. airline industry trade groups like the Airlines for America hope to give it a boost this year.

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Currently, there are travel restrictions on non-citizens entering the U.S. from Europe, the U.K., Brazil and entry restrictions on certain visa holders from India.  The Department of Homeland Security will execute a procedural plan to implement confirmation of a negative test for all travelers coming into the U.S.

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If you have traveled to the US in the last year and stranded due to Covid travel restrictions, you are advised to apply for a U.S. visitor visa extension. Here’s a step-by-step process to extend your B2 visitor visa.

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