By: Joy Dungca
New policy requires all international air travelers entering the United States to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within one day of travel, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status. The new policy is designed to combat the COVID-19 Omicron variant and will apply to all passengers ages two and older with flights departing at or after 12:01 AM Eastern Time on Monday, December 6, 2021.
Previously, US policy required vaccinated international travelers to submit a negative COVID-19 test taken within three calendar days prior to travel. New policy will require fully vaccinated passengers and United States citizens to submit a negative COVID-19 test taken within one calendar day of travel. If a test is taken more than 24 hours before travel but still falls on the previous calendar day, it will be accepted.
Travelers will still be permitted to use evidence of COVID-19 recovery within 90 days of travel.
Exemptions will be offered in extremely limited humanitarian cases, such as for health and safety emergencies where the traveler is unable to access a COVID-19 test before their flight.
This new policy comes shortly after President Biden’s November 29 proclamation which blocks foreign nationals who have been present in certain southern African countries in the previous 14 days. The travel ban is also designed to counter the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Vaccination policy remains unchanged for international air travelers entering the US.
The immigration specialists at Chugh, LLP will continue to provide updates on international travel policy as they become available. Due to the volatile nature of the pandemic and related travel policy, passengers should examine new policies to make sure they are meeting all the requirements for travel.