CDC Requires All Flyers to US to Test Negative for COVID-19

January 12, 2021
John Parkinson

The agency says all travelers must show proof of negative test before boarding.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is requiring all air travelers flying into the United States to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test before being able to board for flight.

Air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within the 3 days before their flight to the US departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or documentation of recovery before they board. If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.

This order was signed by the CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, today and will become effective on January 26, 2021.

“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” Redfield said in a statement. “But when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations.”

This policy comes on the heels of a requirement given back in late December by the administration, “requiring air passengers arriving from the United Kingdom (UK) to test negative, via PCR or Antigen test, no more than 72 hours before departure from the UK to the United States,” according to a CDC statement.

A new COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7, or otherwise known as VOC 202012/01, was discovered that same month in the UK, but has spread to other countries.