CDC says rapid at-home tests are sufficient for international flights to the US
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance and widened the kind of tests it will accept for international travelers looking to enter the country. On Friday, the CDC said that it’s updated its guidance to accept at-home COVID-19 tests for international travel to the U.S.
Sign up to receive the daily TPG newsletter for more travel news!
Since Jan. 26, 2021, all travelers looking to enter the U.S. from abroad have been required to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before scheduled departure. While both a gold-standard PCR test as well as rapid antigen tests had been accepted as valid viral tests for entry, the CDC said that those taken at home were not sufficient.
Now, however, travelers can take a self-administered COVID-19 test at home. They must still meet some specifications, however. Home tests have to be a SARS-CoV-2 viral test (either a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) or an antigen test) with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Additionally, approved at-home tests must be completed using “a telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test that provides real-time supervision remotely through an audio and video connection.” The health authority must be able to see the traveler perform the test in order to certify it was taken correctly and the results are accurate.
The telehealth service provider must confirm the person’s identity, as well as the result. They must then issue a report that meets the CDC’s order and the travel provider must be able to review and confirm the test result and match it to the traveler’s identity.
Overall, this is a positive change for travelers who might otherwise have trouble sourcing a COVID-19 test in a foreign country where capabilities might not be as widely available. The option to take a test at home will allow travelers to pack a COVID-19 test in their bag and take it prior to traveling back to the U.S. after having performed it in front of a telehealth provider.
“This is an encouraging step in facilitating the international travel process, while continuing to prioritize the safety and well-being of all travelers and employees seeking entry to the U.S.,” Airlines for America said of the change.
While the CDC is making the testing requirement for international travel easier on return to the country, the agency still advises against international travel for travelers who aren’t fully vaccinated.
“International travel poses additional risks and even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new COVID-19 variants,” the CDC says on its website. “CDC recommends delaying international travel until you are fully vaccinated.”
Featured photo by Aimur Kytt/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees