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CDC Requires Negative COVID-19 Test Results for All Air Passengers Entering the United States

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Pasricha & Patel

Starting on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) will require all air passengers entering the United States to show proof of negative COVID-19 test. The CDC is imposing this requirement in order to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 virus in the United States.

The CDC explains that all air passengers (which would include U.S. citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPR/’green card holders”) who are entering the United States, must obtain a viral test within the three (3) day period BEFORE their flight to the United States departs, and provide written proof of the laboratory test results (either in paper or electronic copy) to the airline, OR provide documentation that they have recovered from COVID-19.

The airlines must confirm the negative test results for ALL passengers or documentation of recovery before the traveler boards the airplane. The CDCS explains that if a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test, or recovery from COVID-19, or if the passenger chooses not to take the viral test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.

The CDC hopes that this expanded guideline of requiring a viral test, along with the traveler following the CDC recommendations by getting re-tested again 3-5 days after arrival in the United States, and also staying home for 7 days post-travel, will help slow the COVID-19 virus spread in the United States. In addition, by mandating pre-departure testing with results known and proper actions taken before the travel will help local authorities in the traveler’s home country to identify those who are infected with COVID-19 and take proper health action there.

The CDC also hopes this newly expanded order will help intended travelers devise their travel plans by taking the necessary COVID-19 test within the time frame allowed.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are various changes and updates to rules and regulations that originate from different U.S. government agencies. We advise our readers to check back with our platform regularly for the latest information and how it could impact their decision making process when it comes to immigration and travel.

Should you have any questions about immigration and how COVID-19 may be impacting your specific immigration-related matter, we encourage you to contact our office and schedule consultation and we will do our best to assist further.