Revised Travel Requirements for Flights Returning to the U.S.

Updated Sunday, December 5, 2021

Revised Travel Requirements for Flights Returning to the U.S.

There are new travel requirements for all travelers entering the United States by air effective Monday, December 6th.

The new rule will require all travelers, vaccinated or not, to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no later than one day before departure.  The State Department published a list of FAQs on the following website:

Individual airlines may follow their own processes and protocols for your return. Please check with your carrier to verify the information and steps required for uninterrupted travel.

How to Get a Test

Here are a few suggestions for navigating this new testing window for entering the U.S.

  • Check to see if your hotel provides COVID-19 rapid tests, as these should still be allowed to enter the U.S. Make sure your hotel offers COVID-19 tests (including physical or digital proof of a negative result) and that they’re in stock. If not, you may want to arrange for other options before your vacation.
  • Find a location near your accommodations (or even at the airport) that offers fast turnaround results. For example, London Heathrow (LHR) currently offers COVID-19 rapid tests for £35 — and results are provided within 30 minutes. However, these must be pre-booked and paid for in advance.
  • Pack a self-test kit. Several companies, like Abbott’s BinaxNow COVID-19 Home Test and Ellume’s COVID-19 Home Test, are CDC-approved and are permitted for flying back to the U.S. These at-home rapid antigen tests require remote supervision over video conference. However, note that there appears to be a testing shortage for some companies, as Abbott’s website indicates that it is sold out of single tests — though you can still purchase two-packs and three-packs at the time of writing. In addition, you’ll want to be sure that you order in time to receive the tests before departing — but not too far in advance to where the tests will expire.

Of course, if your trip is reserved with Vacations by Gretchen – I will assist in helping you find testing locations.