Qtrip News

U.S. to Require Negative COVID-19 Test for Travelers on Incoming International Flights

January 12, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a new requirement for incoming air travelers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding any inbound flight to the United States.

Travelers will need to show proof of a viral test within three days of their flight. The policy will be implemented¬† on January 26, 2021. Those who don’t produce documentation of a negative lab test, or proof of recovery from COVID-19 infection, or do not wish to comply won’t be permitted to board.

The measure is designed to slow the spread of the virus while the U.S. ramps up vaccination efforts amid a surge in new cases.

While the airline industry remains at the forefront of mitigation efforts, and flying has largely been seen as a safe way to travel, this additional policy should help keep airports and aircraft safer while vaccinations get implemented and we build toward herd immunity.

Should the U.S. extend this policy to domestic flights too? We’re hearing rumblings that it might be happening. Sound off in the comments. We’d love to hear what you think.

This is a developing story. As Qtrip.com receives new information, we will update you here on the blog.


  1. My trip i from lax is from 1/29 Friday
    To Mexico City
    My return flight is 1/31 Sunday
    Can I take a test at lax before my departure
    Would that test be valid on my way back

    1. Hi Francisco. According to the CDC if your trip is shorter than 3 days a viral test done in the US can be used to fulfill the requirements of the Order as long as the specimen was taken no more than 3 days before your return flight departs. So that if you test right before you depart, you should be okay. If your return travel is delayed longer than 3 days after your test, you will need to be retested before your return flight.

    1. Hi Nolbert, according to the CDC, this Order applies to all air passengers, 2 years of age or older, traveling into the US, including US citizens and legal permanent residents.

    1. Hi Isabel, If you mean a Saturday and return a week later Saturday; yes, you do need to get tested in the country you are visiting. If you mean fly out and back on the same day, you will be required to show a negative COVID test when you fly back to the US. However you can take the test in the US before you depart. For example on the Thursday before that Saturday. It has to be a test taken no later than three days before your return flight. Hope that explains it but you can read more here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html.

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