Lifestyle

Do You Need A Covid-19 Test To Fly?


Are destinations requiring a pre-arrival Covid-19 test to enter the country or even city or state when you arrive by plane? Not always, though some places do have specific requirements. Here are the times you need a Covid-19 test and when you don’t.

When You Need A Covid-19 Test For Domestic Flights

There are only a few destinations that require air passengers to have a negative Covid-19 test to arrive. So, for example, you won’t need to take a test to fly from New York to California. However, a test is necessary if you wish to visit a tropical state or territory.

Hawaii

Hawaii is the single state that still has a quarantine protocol for incoming travelers age five or older. Thankfully, there are two ways to waive this 10-day quarantine.

Returning residents and visiting tourists will need to have a negative Covid-19 test result or show proof of vaccination to bypass the quarantine. Fully vaccinated travelers don’t need a diagnostic test as they can upload their vaccination records to the Safe Travels Program using an app like Azova, CLEAR and CommonPass. 

There are currently no testing requirements for inter-island travel.

While it’s not related to flight eligibility, the city of Honolulu requires visitors to be fully vaccinated or have a negative test result within 48 hours before partaking in certain indoor activity restrictions.

The Honolulu vaccine mandate affects indoor dining, bars, gyms and theaters. 

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico requires Americans coming to the island to either be fully vaccinated or have a negative pre-arrival test taken within 48 hours. The testing requirement applies to any traveler age two or older.

There is a $300 fine if you arrive without a proper test or proof of vaccination.

U.S. Virgin Islands

While you still don’t need a travel passport to visit the U.S. Virgin Islands, domestic travelers five years or older will need to upload a negative Covid-19 test. 

The test can occur within five days of the arrival date.

Domestic travelers do not need to be fully vaccinated to enter. Also, proof of vaccination doesn’t substitute the testing requirement.

Incoming Flights To The United States

Any traveler age two or older must have a negative pre-arrival test result to enter the United States quarantine free. This requirement applies to returning citizens and visiting non-residents.

How soon you can test depends on your vaccination status:

  • Within three days of arrival for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers
  • Within one day for vaccinated travelers

Documentation of a recent Covid-19 recovery from the last 90 days can qualify as a testing exemption.

The current entry requirements don’t require U.S. citizens to be fully vaccinated before international travel. However, except in rare circumstances, international travelers must be fully vaccinated before flying to the United States.

The latest CDC testing requirements went into effect on November 8, 2021.

International Travel Testing Requirements For U.S. Citizens

With the exception of several Latin American and Caribbean destinations, Americans must be fully vaccinated, have a negative test result, or both, to visit a foreign country. Here are the entry requirements for some of the most popular world destinations.

Canada

Travelers age 12 or older must be fully vaccinated and have a negative pre-arrival test to waive the 14-day quarantine. The testing requirement applies to children five years or older. These requirements also apply when entering Canada from its land border crossing.

Mexico

Mexico currently doesn’t require Americans to be tested or show proof of vaccination to enter. However, any person at least two years old must have a negative test to return to the United States.

Aruba

Visitors age 12 or older must have a negative pre-arrival test within three days of arriving. Covid-19 travel insurance is also required for all visitors.

Bahamas

The Bahamas, one of the most popular Caribbean destinations, requires all two or older travelers to have a negative Covid-19 test. In addition, the test cannot be older than five days to be valid. All travelers must also obtain adequate Covid-19 health insurance for their travel dates.

Belize

Vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers at least five years old must have a negative entry test. The testing window is 96 hours for PCR tests and 48 hours for antigen tests. It’s also possible to get a test upon arrival at the airport at the traveler’s expense.

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has one of the more unique (and rare) entry requirements. Testing isn’t mandatory, but authorities conduct random rapid testing during the entry process. You also don’t need to be fully vaccinated to enter. If you test positive, you will need to observe a mandatory quarantine until testing negative.

Jamaica

Jamaica is a perennial favorite, but the testing and quarantine requirements are on the stricter side. All visitors must have a negative pre-arrival test. You will also need to quarantine for eight days (fully vaccinated) or 14 days (unvaccinated). The quarantine can happen at a Covid-19 Resilient Corridor such as an approved resort.

Turks And Caicos

The Turks and Caicos require a negative pre-arrival test for travelers at least ten years old. Any traveler at least 16 years old must also be fully vaccinated to avoid quarantine. All travelers must also have adequate travel and health insurance.

Italy

Italy requires proof of vaccination and a negative entry test to waive the 5-day entry quarantine. Evidence of recent recovery can waive the vaccine mandate.

Spain

Eligible travelers must be fully vaccinated but do not need a negative entry test. 

France

Fully vaccinated travelers don’t need to present a negative pre-arrival test. Unvaccinated travelers must have a negative pre-arrival test within 72 hours but must also self-quarantine for seven days.

United Kingdom

The entry guidelines into the United Kingdom are different for vaccinated and unvaccinated visitors.

Fully vaccinated travelers don’t need a pre-arrival test but must have a post-arrival test within the first two days in the UK.

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers will need to take a pre-arrival test within 72 hours of arrival and two post-arrival tests on days 2 and 8 in the UK. These travelers must also self-quarantine for the first ten days.

Maldives

Vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers must obtain a negative pre-arrival test no more than 96 hours before arrival.

Summary

Only a handful of domestic destinations require testing to gain unrestricted entry as these remote islands have fewer resources than the mainland United States. The testing requirements vary widely for international countries. However, even if your destination doesn’t require a pre-arrival test, any person flying into the United States that’s at least two years old must have a negative test result.  

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