Travel update: negative test will be required for entry to the United States

A negative test or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 is required for air passengers arriving from a foreign country to the U.S.

Tom Lane

Written by Tom Lane
Published on 13.01.2021 12:06 (updated on 13.01.2021)

Passengers who wish to fly from a foreign country to the United States will require proof of a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19, according to an order from The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The order will be effective on Jan. 26, 2021, and will include U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. They must be tested no more than three days before their flight departs.

“Testing does not eliminate all risk, 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,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield in a statement.

The CDC website says travelers should be tested with a viral test (NAAT or antigen test) to determine if you are currently infected with COVID-19, and that if you have had a positive viral test in the last 3 months, and you have met the criteria to end isolation, you may travel instead with documentation of your positive viral test results and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official that states you have been cleared for travel. 

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Meanwhile, from Thursday, Germany will require a negative coronavirus test upon arrival from high-risk areas, including the Czech Republic. Today, the relevant regulation was approved by the German government. 

Germany considers regions with more than 200 new cases per 100,000 population over a seven-day period to be a high-risk area. When traveling from risk areas, a mandatory quarantine continues to apply, which can be completed after five days by another negative test.

Other countries have begun to tighten restrictions over the past few days, with the Czech Republic adding France, Ireland, and Spain to a list of red countries, with travelers from said countries requiring negative tests upon entry.

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The U.K. recently updated their travel restrictions with only a small number of countries on a travel corridor for easier entry, while Austria recently updated requirements for entry to the country with a new form that needs to be filled in for foreign visitors.

The latest travel information and advice for American Expats living in the Czech Republic can be found on the U.S. Embassy website.