The U.S. government will soon require individuals traveling to the country by air to test negative for the COVID-19 virus.

Key Points:

  • The new CDC requirement will take effect Jan. 26.
  • From that date, anyone traveling to the U.S., including U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, will be required to provide (1) documentation of a negative viral COVID-19 test taken within three days of travel or (2) documentation of recovery from a previous COVID-19 infection, including positive test results and a letter from a health care provider or public health official clearing the passenger for travel.
  • Passengers who do not provide the required documentation will not be permitted to board their airplanes. Travelers under the age of two are exempt.
  • The CDC recommends that following arrival, travelers get re-tested within three to five days and remain at home for seven days
  • The testing requirement follows implementation last month of a similar requirement for travelers from the United Kingdom.

Additional Information: The testing requirement will be in addition to “physical presence” bans and other COVID-19 travel restrictions. The physical presence bans bar entry to most travelers who have been in BrazilChinaIranIreland, the United Kingdom or any of the 26 Schengen Area countries in the 14 days before entry. The Trump administration also recently extended the immigrant visa ban and nonimmigrant work-visa ban through March 31, 2021. U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, spouses and children of U.S. citizens and a limited number of others are exempt from both the physical presence and work visa bans.

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