Here are the new rules for entering the US from abroad


Travelers wearing protective masks will receive nasal swabs from nurses at a COVID-19 testing site in Terminal B of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Sunday, November 22, 2020.

Bing Guan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The rules of international travel are changing – again.

The advent of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in southern Africa and its discovery around the world has sparked a number of new travel requests and, in some cases, outright bans – further complicating international travel that has just begun.

Three weeks after the lifting of a blanket pandemic travel ban in more than 30 countries, the Biden government banned visitors from South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe on November 29.

Starting Monday, the U.S. is rolling out stricter testing requirements for incoming travelers, including U.S. citizens, forcing travelers to take their time and schedule Covid testing closer to their departure date.

Rules changed quickly. Air travelers to the USA need to know the following:

What changes?

As of Monday, air travelers flying to the US from abroad will be required to provide the airlines with proof of a negative Covid test result, which was carried out within one day of departure, before they are allowed on board. This includes US citizens and vaccinated travelers.

Previously, vaccinated visitors, permanent residents, and citizens were required to submit a test within three days of leaving the United States

When do travelers have to take their test?

The Centers for Disease Control say the samples must be collected one calendar day before departure.

What types of Covid tests are accepted?

Both antigen and nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) tests, including PCR, test results are accepted.

Do I need to take a test when I land in the US?

No. In the United States, travelers are not required to take a test when landing and entering the United States

However, the CDC has expanded a program to offer free, voluntary tests to travelers upon arrival to detect variants, most recently the Omicron variant.

They are offered by the XpresSpa Group, which has expanded from airport massages and other spa services to airport Covid tests since the pandemic began, and Ginkgo Bioworks. The program is available at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and San Francisco International Airport. Both tests can be picked up at home or PCR tests can be performed on arrival.

XpresSpa’s XpresCheck subsidiary also offers rapid tests at various US airports at prices ranging from $ 75 for a PCR test to $ 250 for a rapid PCR test.

Do the new rules apply to land crossings in the USA?

No. The new rules only apply to air travel.

Can I cancel my flight?

Airlines’ policies vary and travelers should check with their airline early and frequently about changing rules and ticket policies.

Major US airlines have phased out rebooking fees for both domestic international and domestic main cabin tickets and beyond that were purchased in at least the United States and certain other countries, but travelers could still be responsible for price differences when opting for one Travel with another day. However, basic economy tickets are usually less flexible and more difficult to change.

Delta Air Lines is waiving fare differences for Japan and Israel, which have temporarily banned foreign visitors, and for South Africa if passengers fly on or before December 12th. American Airlines says tickets were purchased for travel to and from Australia, Europe and the UK, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, New Zealand or South Africa between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021 and the trip would have taken place by the end of this year, the value of the ticket can be used for journeys through December. 31st, 2022.