President Joe Biden said Thursday that the U.S. would toughen pre-departure COVID-19 testing protocols for inbound international travelers.

Key Points:

  • Under the plan, the U.S. will require inbound international travelers to test negative for COVID-19 within one day of departure for the U.S., regardless of their vaccination status or nationality.
  • Until the new rule takes effect, the one-day time frame only applies to inbound air travelers who are not fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated travelers are currently required to test negative for COVID-19 within three days of departure.

Additional Information: Biden announced the new testing requirement as part of a broader strategy to fight COVID-19 this winter and mitigate the spread of the Omicron variant. Earlier this week, the U.S. implemented new entry restrictions on travel from South Africa and seven other countries following the emergence of the new variant. The White House also said that it would extend a requirement that individuals wear a mask on airplanes, trains and public transportation and at indoor transportation hubs, including airports. The White House fact sheet indicates the stricter testing requirement will take effect “early next week,” but as of 5 p.m. EST, the White House had yet to announce an implementation date.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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