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U.S. Embassy issues Health Alert related to travel Covid testing

January 19, 2021

The United States Embassy in Costa Rica issued a Health Alert regarding the new coronavirus test policy for air travelers entering the United States.

Below is the U.S. Embassy’s message in full:

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director has signed an order requiring all airline passengers traveling to the United States, including U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test or recovery from COVID-19.

Event:  Effective January 26, all airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older must provide either a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel or provide a positive test result and documentation from a licensed health care provider or public health official of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel.*  Passengers must also attest, under penalty of law, to having received a negative qualifying test result or to recovery from COVID-19 and medical clearance to travel.  

See the CDC Proof of Negative Test Result page to view the order, complete the attestation, and to see FAQ’s.  

Airlines must deny boarding to passengers who do not meet these requirements.  

U.S. citizens in countries where adequate COVID-19 testing is not available or may not be able to satisfy the requirements, should depart immediately or prepare to be unable to return to the United States until such time as they can meet the requirements.   

Actions to Take:

  • Monitor the CDC website for latest guidance regarding testing requirements.
  • Check with your air carriers or travel representative prior to departure for the United States.
  • Check COVID-19 Country Specific Information updated information on COVID-19 related informationincluding availability of testing.
  • Visit travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security.
  • Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States.
  • Click  here for our COVID FAQs Search Tool.

Assistance:

State Department – Consular Affairs

888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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COVID-19 Testing in Costa Rica:

  • Are PCR tests available for U.S. citizens in Costa Rica? Yes
  • If so, are test results reliably available within 72 hours? Yes
  • Testing is available at Hospital La Católica, Hospital Cima, Hospital Metropolitano and Hospital Clinica Biblica as well as the following laboratories located around Costa Rica: LABIN, Echandi, Laboratorio Páez, Laboratorios San José.  The average cost is around USD 100 in San Jose and the Central Valley Region, and 150 USD in other regions.  Test results are typically ready within 24 to 72 hours.  Test results are generally delivered via email.  Testing is paid for by the individual.
  • While most testing locations do not require a doctor’s referral, many do require an appointment.  Most locations accept appointments via telephone.

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Editor’s note: While this wording is confusing, what it means is that people who have recovered from Covid-19 within the last 3 months do not need a negative test. Instead, they should show proof of their positive viral test and a letter from a healthcare provider indicating they’ve been cleared to travel. 

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