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What The New U.S. International Quarantine And Testing Requirements Mean For Travelers

By Colby Smith

What The New U.S. International Quarantine And Testing Requirements Mean For Travelers

President Biden also recently reinstated COVID-19 restrictions on incoming international travelers.

President Biden recently signed an executive order mandating that returning international travelers provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test before their scheduled flight.

The reinstated restrictions had been in place for the greater part of 2020, until former president, Donald Trump, waved them days before leaving office. These restrictions, effective January 30, impose a traveling ban for incoming non-US residents from a list of 26 countries, including Ireland, Brazil, the UK, and, now, South Africa.

Additionally, effective immediately, all US residents 2 years old and older must provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of the scheduled flight returning to the US. Or, if previously contracted with the virus, passengers must provide documentation proving their recovery in the past three months. Travelers who fail to provide the paperwork on either front will be denied boarding.

Important to note, this applies to all US citizens, even those who’ve received the coronavirus vaccine. Only those who’ve previously contracted and recovered from the virus in the past three months, and have signed documentation from a health care official clearing them for travel, do not have to take a COVID test before returning to US soil.

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Some airports have begun adding COVID-19 testing facilities on their premises, but not all. Travelers are advised to check with the airports beforehand in the event of a lengthy layover.

While the US doesn’t require outbound travelers to provide documentation of negative tests, many countries, including Spain, do. Meaning, that travelers to such countries must provide a negative result at check-in when departing from the US in order to board the flight. It’s recommended that travelers research the traveling regulations of the country of their destination beforehand.

While there is no mandatory quarantine upon return to the US, the CDC strongly recommends getting tested within 3-5 days, and quarantine for a week – whether the results of the test are positive or negative. If returning Americans do not get tested, the CDC recommends a quarantine period of no less than 10 days.