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Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test Required for International Travelers Flying to the U.S.

Published on January 13, 2021

Beginning on January 26, 2021, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require all international air passengers to obtain a pre-departure COVID-19 test before traveling to the United States. Under the new CDC policy, all international travelers must be tested for COVID-19 during the three days prior to their flight’s departure and present the negative results to the airline before boarding. If an international traveler has recovered from COVID-19 within the last three months and had no further symptoms, additional testing will not be required. Instead, the traveler must obtain a letter from their health care provider to present to the airline. The CDC will require airlines to prevent from boarding any international passenger who fails to provide the required documentation before their flight to the United States. International passengers who have received the vaccine will still be required to take a pre-departure test within three days before travel and provide proof of negative results.

The new CDC policy requires COVID-19 testing for international passengers universally. A previous CDC policy issued in December 2020 required proof of a negative COVID-19 test for passengers flying to the United States from the United Kingdom. Now, all international travelers will be required to present proof of a negative test result or, alternatively, recent recovery from COVID-19.

The Canadian government also requires pre-departure testing and proof of a negative COVID-19 test for all international travelers boarding flights to Canada, regardless of citizenship.


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This message has been released by the Immigration Group at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC to advise of recent developments in the law. Because each situation is different, this information is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any specific facts and circumstances. Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC is a full-service law firm located in Seattle, Washington.

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