On January 12, 2021, the CDC announced that negative test results will be required for all international travelers entering the US. Currently, the verbiage is written to include all travelers entering the US by air. However, as cruise lines begin to sail again, there is an excellent chance the verbiage will be changed to include all travelers entering the US by any mode of transportation.
What You Must Know About the New Negative Test Guidelines
The first thing you must know about the new negative guidelines is it applies to anyone entering the US. Therefore, even as a US citizen returning to the US from a foreign country, you must provide negative Covid-19 test results.
Everyone planning to enter the US from a foreign country must have a Covid-19 test within three days of their departure date. The acceptable Covid-19 tests currently include the PCR tests and the rapid tests. The results must be received prior to boarding your flight. The airline staff will be able to accept a paper copy of the results, as well as an electronic copy.
You will also be allowed to provide documentation that states you have recovered from Covid-19 in the past. Failure to provide the proper documentation will result in not being allowed to board your flight.
The CDC does understand that negative tests will not completely prevent the spread of the virus. However, it will be a step forward in controlling the spread by keeping people who tested positive off the planes.
These new testing guidelines will go into effect on January 26, 2021. However, the US is not the first country to have implemented guidelines like this. Other countries, like Egypt and Aruba, have required a negative Covid-19 test for international travelers for months. And the United Kingdom announced their intention to require negative test results a few days before the US. The UK’s requirements will go into effect on January 15, 2021.
How Airlines are Reacting to the New Negative Testing Guidelines for the US
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the airlines are embracing this new announcement from the CDC. Since the airlines had to mandate masks on their own, they are happy the government is setting these new standards. The airlines will still need to enforce their mask policies without help from the federal government. But they will have assistance with any questions that come up within the negative testing guidelines.
While the guidelines seem pretty straightforward, there will obviously be issues and questions that arise within the first few days. Until then, all airlines will be working to put procedures in place to ensure no passenger slips through the screening process.
What the Negative Test Guidelines Mean for You for International Travel
Many people will be thrilled to start traveling internationally again. However, before you begin to book your tickets, we want to share a word of caution. Covid-19 tests are not always available during the time frames you need them. Therefore, you must be prepared and do your research to make sure you can you will need to take a test. And have the results may not be back in time for your return flight.
Before you book your trip, you must make sure you can have a test done and get the results back in time. After all, it would be terrible for you to arrive at an international destination and then not be able to get home again!
No matter what, this is a step in the right direction when it comes to travel. As the CDC said, it won’t prevent all cases of Covid-19. But it will keep the rate of infections lower than it would be if the testing procedures and guidelines were not in place.