Travelers Require Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test

Following the discovery that a new variant of the coronavirus in the UK, with what seems to have a higher transmission rate, the US CDC authorities have made the decision to request proof that air passengers from the UK have had a negative COVID-19 test result pre-departure. The test requirement was introduced on 27 December and must be completed in the three days before the flight to the US.

Can foreign nationals now enter the US from UK with a negative test?

As of March 14, foreign nationals who visited the UK in the past 14 days were not allowed to enter the US, but citizens and lawful permanent residents were allowed. The test requirement does not affect this rule and foreign nationals are still currently unable to enter the US if they have been in the UK in the past 14 days. There are some specific exceptions for a small minority of foreign nationals.

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

The test must have been undertaken within three calendar days prior to the flight and it must be a viral test that provides documentation as proof of the negative test.

Does this requirement apply if I have a layover in the UK?

No, if your layover in the UK is less than 24 hours, the requirement is not applicable.

Does this requirement apply if my travel started in the UK, but my flight to the US has a layover in another country/I’m transiting through another country on my way to the US?

You are required to provide proof of the negative test if your travel is starting in the UK.

Who is checking to make sure that people have a negative test before they board a plane in the UK?

All airlines operating flights to the US from UK must check the documentation showing the negative test result.

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

If you do not have evidence of a negative test result you will not be allowed to board the plane to the US, as the airline staff will not allow entry.

What happens if I test positive?

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate and must change their travel plans to a later date. Passengers who have tested positive will not be allowed on the flight and should not be leaving their place of residence.

What is a verifiable test result?

The evidence must be in written form, either a paper or electronic copy, showing a laboratory test result. The accepted types of test are the viral tests which are NAAT or antigen. The documentation must state the person’s name, the date that the specimen was collected, the type of test completed and the negative result outcome.

Do I need to get another test when I get to the United States?

Even if the test result is negative, you are recommended by the CDC to take another test when you get to the US (3-5 days after arrival) and self-quarantine for 7 days after your flight. This will help to prevent the new variant of COVID-19 spreading in the US.

Do I need to get a test before returning to the UK?

You must follow the latest UK travel requirements if you are traveling to the UK from the US. The CDC recommends travellers take a test prior to flying to the UK.

Why does this only apply to travel from the UK?

The UK was the first place to confirm this new variant of the disease, although there may now be additional countries where the new variant has been identified. As this variant is more transmissible than the previous variants, the US want to stop the variant from entering the country. The requirement may be extended to include other countries if deemed necessary.

Why aren’t we banning travel from the UK?

The ban on foreign nationals from the UK has reduced air travel by 90%, and along with this new requirement, offers a high level of protection.

When does this order take effect?

This Order was introduced from 7.01 EST on December 27 2020 (which is 12:01 AM GMT on December 28 2020).

What if I recently recovered from COVID-19?

If you have tested positive, it is not recommended to have another test for three months unless you have symptoms. If you have met the criteria to end isolation, you should take a copy of your test results and also a doctor’s letter to confirm you are fit to travel.

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