Stricter COVID-19 Testing Requirement for Travelers Entering the United States

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The United States has placed several measures to contain the outbreak of COVID-19 and safeguard the lives of all residents. As the summer season kicks in, there will be an increase in travelers entering the states. The increase in the influx of people into the states necessitates the rolling out of new COVID-19 testing policies for travelers entering the country.

“Seeing how challenging it was to manage the spread of COVID-19, the strict testing requirement is understandable,” says immigration attorney Zaira Solano of Solano Law Firm, LLC. When the pandemic kicked in, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) made a negative COVID-19 test documentation a necessity for gaining entrance into the county. This requirement was strictly adhered to by the different airlines for all travelers seeking entry from foreign countries irrespective of their citizenship.

However, some amendments have been added to that requirement. All through the summer season and in the future, all travelers are required to present a COVID-19 test showing their negative status taken not more than one day before their scheduled travel. Travelers from foreign countries are to present the test result irrespective of their vaccination status.

Requirement for COVID-19 Testing Documentation

Not every COVID-19 test presented for documentation by travelers will be accepted as all tests must meet the requirement that CDC has outlined. The requirements include:

  • Evidence showing that the specimen used in carrying out the test was collected 1 day before the scheduled departure date as all specimens collected earlier than that will not be considered valid
  • The personal data of the traveler must be the same as the details on the traveling documents
  • Detailed information on the entity responsible for carrying out the testing
  • The test result must indicate that SARS-CoV-2 was not found on the traveler’s specimen
  • The test must be either an antigen or nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) to be acceptable

Exceptions to the Compulsory 1 Day COVID-19 Test Requirement

There are situations where the compulsory 1-day COVID-19 test may be waived for a traveler based on the peculiarity of the individual’s situation. Travelers may qualify for a humanitarian exemption on the condition that:

  • The case is a medical emergency that requires immediate evacuation of the traveler to preserve the safety and general health
  • Travelers cannot access their test results or could not complete the result before the travel time

Travelers who qualify for humanitarian exemptions are, however, required to provide specific information, including their name, nationality and passport details, U.S. destination address, itinerary, and departure date. Additionally, they are required to document the purpose of their travel, provide reasons for the test waiver and evidence justifying the waiver, such as an evacuation notice or a medical report.

Documentation Requirements for Recovered Travelers

While all travelers must present a negative SARS-Cov-2 test, those who have recently recovered from COVID-19. Instead, they are required to submit a positive test result taken no later than 90 days from their scheduled travel date. A valid positive test result that will be acceptable will have to show the traveler’s details, which must match with the details in their travel documents.

Also, a traveler will be required to present a letter duly signed by a recognized healthcare provider showing they have been cleared for travel. Additionally, the antigen or NAAT test must also indicate that the specimen used in running the test was collected not more than 90 days from the departure date and bear information of the testing entity.

Final Thoughts

The 1-day COVID-19 test requirement for all travelers two years old and above wanting to gain entry into the United States is another step by CDC to contain the spread of the virus. These requirements may increase the stress involved in traveling but are for the general good.

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