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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The CDC Releases New Guidance on Negative Covid-19 Testing for International Travelers

A negative test is required for all air passengers, from the ages two years and older, who are flying from Costa Rica or any foreign country to the United States.

According to the announcement made by the White House on December 2 all international travelers must submit a negative Covid-19 test before flying to the United States.

Additionally, with limited exceptions, non-US citizens age two and older must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to fly to the United States.

This means that starting today, December 6, all travelers who are two years and older – both US and foreign citizens – must show a negative Covid-19 viral test result taken no later than one day before their trip, or documentation of having recovered from Covid-19 in the last 90 days, before being allowed to fly.

Within one day means that the test must be done one day before the flight departs. The order uses the timeframe of one day instead of 24 hours to offer more flexibility to the passenger and the air carrier. By using the one-day time frame, the acceptability of the test does not depend on the time of the flight or the time of day the test sample was taken. For example, if a traveler’s flight is at 1 p.m. on a Friday, the traveler could board with a negative test that was taken at any time on Thursday.

If you recently recovered from COVID-19, you may instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).

Travelers must undergo a viral test which can be an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), which includes polymerase chain reaction tests (RT-PCR). Rapid tests are acceptable if they are a qualifying viral test.

Extremely limited exemptions may be given when emergency travel, such as urgent medical evacuation, occurs to preserve someone’s life, health in the face of serious danger, or physical safety, and tests cannot be completed prior to travel .

More information on the CDC guidelines for negative tests for Covid-19 is available on their website:

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