CDC International Travel COVID-19 Testing Requirements

CDC International Travel COVID-19 Requirements

January 13, 2021

NOTICE: Effective January 26, 2021, all air passengers arriving in the U.S. from a foreign country are required to get tested within 72 hours of their flight departure. Travelers are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight.

This order was issued by the CDC on January 12, 2021. It applies to all air passengers traveling into the U.S., including U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.

Travelers must be tested no more than three days before the departure of their inbound US flight.


  • Travelers must be tested with a viral test (NAAT or antigen test) to determine if they are currently infected with COVID-19.
  • Travelers must receive negative results and present documentation to board their flight.
  • All air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery.


  • If a traveler has had a positive viral test in the past three months and has met the criteria to end isolation, they may travel with documentation of the positive viral test results and a letter from a healthcare provider or public health official that states they have been cleared for travel.


  • Test results must be in the form of written documentation (paper or electronic copy) of a laboratory test result.
  • Testing must be performed using a viral test (NAAT or antigen).
  • Test results must include personal identification information, specimen collection date, and the type of test.


  • CDC recommends travelers get tested three-five days after travel and stay home or self-quarantine for seven days after travel.
  • If a traveler tests negative upon return, the guidance recommends staying home for seven days.
  • If a traveler does not get tested, the guidance recommends staying home for 10 days.
  • Recommendations or requirements related to travel vary by destination. Please review state and local guidance related to travel.