Proof Required of Negative COVID-19 Test For All Air Passengers Arriving in The United States

(Last Updated On: April 14, 2021)

Everyone booking a flight to the United States must present a negative Covid-19 test report or Recovery form.

If you are planning to book your flights from India/Australia or any other country to the USA you need to display a COVID negative test report. The report will be asked from you while boarding at the airport and will be accepted if no more than 3 days old. You must also be prepared to show the document of recovery at the airport before leaving.

The above order is effective since 12:01 am EST on 26th January 2021. You also need to present a self-declaration form for the authentication of the Negative COVID report in form of attestation.

Still, the Government of the USA suggests that this must not be the right time to plan a journey in midst of the pandemic. Your life and the life of people close to you are important. It is best to stay at home and be safe. In case of emergencies, if you wish to fly please follow all the CDC recommendations before, during, and after travel.                                                                      

Here is the list of latest recommendations once you reach your destination –

  • You need to get tested in 3-5 days after you reach and stay at home in self-quarantine for 7 days.
  • Even if you test negative in your report, you should stay home for 7 days
  • In case of testing positive, stay at home and avoid spreading the virus to other people and follow instructions from the medical professional.
  • In any case, you are not getting tested be self-aware of the fact that the COVID virus is out there and self-quarantine yourself for 10 days.

Frequently Ask Questions –

Are these requirements and procedures apply to US citizens?

The procedures apply to all citizens(2 years of age or older) traveling from abroad to the US.

If I am a non-citizen of US will I will be no longer subject to Presidential Proclamation travel restrictions if I show a Negative test or documentation of recovery?

As per the latest orders from CDC, it does not replace the Presidential proclamations.

To check the list of the countries and links to proclamations please browse to the White House Website.

Do the above procedures apply for people traveling from US territories to US states?

No, you don’t have to present a negative test report if you are traveling from a US territory to a US state. US territories include American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

In case of booking a connecting flight from US territories via a different country, I need to present the reports?

No, in such a situation you the above procedures do not apply to you.

FAQ if you are traveling from a foreign company to US –

If I am planning a short trip outside of US and return within a 3-day timeframe will I have to follow the procedure?

You need to present a test report that is negative that is dated 3 days or less before your travel.

What is attestation?

It is a document that states in writing, entry, or other representation under 18 U.S.C that confirms the information that is submitted is true.

Do the above procedures apply to land border crossings?

No.

Who will check my report before I board the flight to US?

It is the responsibility of the airline to check your report or document of recovery.

What types of new SARS-CoV-2 will be acceptable?

You must be tested with an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT). The test used should align with the authorization of it vai the National authority of the country you are traveling from.

Will, it qualifies if I get myself tested at home?

Yes, if the lab reports meet the requirements and such testing is authorized by the country’s national health authorities.

What is a verifiable test result?

A verifiable test result must be written or printed documented of a laboratory test result that meets the requirement of all the information related to the traveler.

Does the order apply to Diplomat and special visa holders?

Yes.

FAQ related to Passenger

When do you need to a test before traveling to the US?

No more than 3 days before your traveling.

Do Local and State governments in the US have different testing guidelines?

Depending on the number of cases or preventive measures states can have further restrictions for people traveling to the US. Always stay updated on the latest federal and state rules before you plan to travel.

What are the rules if you recently recover from COVID?

Yes, you can travel if you carry a document of recovery that specifies that you have tested positive and recovered from COVID and permission by a public health official.

Will I be allowed to board the flight if I do not present a negative test report?

The airline has the authority to deny the travel if you be present at the airport without a negative test report.

What is the Document of Recovery consists of?

The document of recovery consists of a printed or electronic copy of ur positive test result and a signed letter that states all the details(Name, Number, Address on official letterhead) from a licensed healthcare provider or public health official. Stating that you are recovered from COVID and are now safe to travel.

Can you get an exemption or waiver for the testing?

Only in case of an emergency where there is a danger of life or something too urgent regarding savings someone’s life you will be allowed for an exemption.

Will I need to get tested again if I have a connecting flight to the US? Does the 3-day test rule apply to the first flight or the last one?

You need to get tested not more than 3 days before your first flight. You will have to take a retest if you have a connecting flight if you need more than 3 days to reach the US due to delay or any other circumstances.

Do passengers also need to have a copy of their attestation as well as the airline retaining it?

Passengers are only required to retain a paper or electronic copy of their negative test result or documentation of recovery for the entirety of their itinerary. The attestation should be submitted to and retained by the airline or aircraft operator.

What happens if my flight is delayed past the 3 days limit?

If the delay is more than days you need to get tested again.

Do I need to get tested if I am traveling outside of US?

No, it is not compulsory, but CDC recommends that one needs to get the test done 1-3 days before you travel internationally.

Will the CDC help me get my refund in case of delay or cancellation because of test requirements?

CDC will not be liable to reimburse and is unable to help travelers to get reimbursements for travel expenses. Please make sure with the airline beforehand in case of any such situation.

Aircrafts Operator/Airlines/Crew FAQ

Does this order apply to all flights?

Yes, this order applies to all flights including private and general aviation aircraft.

Does the order also apply at pre-clearance ports?

Yes.

Is there any exemption from the requirement of the order for a crew member? Also, what type of travel is exempt for the crew members?

All the crew members that are on the official duty assigned by the air carrier/operator involves in their task respectively are exempt from the requirements of the order. Other crew members traveling for training, commuting to or from work, or business are not exempt from the testing requirement.

To apply for exemption, the occupation health, and safety program must be followed as per the COVID protocol issued jointly by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and CDC.

Apart from the crew, other persons such as the maintenance person and contractor may be exempted if:

  • They are travel is related to the purpose of operating the aircraft and maintain safety.
  • The air carrier extends and allows these personals based on occupational health and safety programs.

All the personals who are not covered under the occupational health and safety program will not be exempt from the rule.

Are federal law enforcement personnel exempt from this order?

Yes such officials are only exempt from the order if:

  1. The urgent need for travel does not allow time for testing.
  2. If there is any federal law enforcement function on the aircraft (for security reasons.)

CDC still requires a copy of the signed statement electronic or in print in such case mentioning the reason for travel by the respective agency.

Is the defense personal from the US department exempt from this order?

All the officials of the DOD are exempt from the testing requirement if such personals are meeting the guidelines under the DOD force Protection guidance 14 – DOD guidance for personal traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic(Dec 29, 2020) including its testing guidance.

Where to find the industry protocols that the crew must follow to pass the exemption?

Please visit the safety alert for operators pdf from the website by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Can the air carriers create a form of electronic attestation? In such a case what constitutes the guidelines of ‘signing’?

Yes, in the case of electronic attestation the air carriers have to make sure the identity of the person is valid and the traveler is allowed to travel. This can be done via digital signature on the attestation document or other authorized apps (like DocuSign).

Can airline/aircraft take attestation form in a foreign language?

Yes.

What is the airline/aircraft suppose to do with the attestation?

As of now the airline/aircraft is supposed to keep the attestation with them for two years.

Do the airlines need to maintain a copy of the test result of the traveler?

No.

What are the guidelines for the aircraft/airlines to follow in case they have to shift a patient who is COVID positive?

The aircraft must adhere to CDC’s Interim Guidance for Transporting or Arranging Transportation by Air into, from, or within the United States of People with COVID-19 or COVID-19 Exposure.

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