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New International Air Travel COVID-19 Policy

passengers in an airplane

International travel is critical to connecting families and friends, to fueling small and large businesses, and to promoting the open exchange of ideas and culture. That’s why we have developed a new international air travel policy that follows the science and both enhances the safety of Americans here at home and the safety of international air travel.

Vaccination Requirement

As of November 8, foreign nationals flying to the United States are required to be fully vaccinated and must show proof of vaccination prior to boarding a U.S.-bound airplane.

  • In addition to requiring foreign nationals to be fully vaccinated, the new international air travel policy requires other proven COVID-19 mitigation strategies – enhanced testing, contact tracing, and masking. 
  • CDC has determined vaccines accepted include FDA approved or authorized as well as vaccines with an emergency use listing (EUL) from the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Children under 18 are exempted from the vaccination requirement for foreign national travelers, given both the ineligibility of some younger children for vaccination, as well as the global variability in access to vaccination for older children who are eligible to be vaccinated.
  • More information can be found at the CDC website for International Travel.

Testing Requirement

As of December 6, before boarding a flight to the United States, air travelers aged two and older, regardless of nationality or vaccination status, are required to show documentation of a negative viral test result taken within one day of the flight’s departure. You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight. That includes all travelers – U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), and foreign nationals. 

  • While children under 2 years of age are excepted from this requirement, CDC recommends a pre-departure test for these children whenever possible.
  • If you recently recovered from COVID-19, you may instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country, and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).
  • More information can be found at the CDC website for International Travel.

Contact Tracing

In the coming weeks, CDC will be issuing a contact tracing order requiring airlines to collect current information from each U.S.-bound traveler – including their phone number and email address. This will enable CDC and state and local public health officials to follow-up with inbound travelers and those around them if someone has potentially been exposed to COVID-19 or other pathogens.

Masking

The U.S. Government has extended the masking requirement on airplanes, and TSA doubled fines for passengers who refuse to wear a mask. It’s simple: Masking helps stop the spread of COVID-19. And if you break the rules, be prepared for the consequences.  

International Travelers: US travel requirements have changed. Learn more at CDC.govCDC has developed a Travel Requirements Quiz, a web tool to help international travelers find out what is required before traveling to the United States by air.  

Last updated: Tuesday, December 21, 2021