Two days ago news broke that the Biden administration will modify travel requirements for international arrivals into the United States and the President just gave a speech confirming that from MONDAY December 6, 2021 (5:01am) a Covid test within one day of your departure will be required.
Further actions previously speculated about (mandatory self-test requirement, self-isolation) were not put in place however, the mask mandate requiring that face masks are worn during travel by air and public transportation was extended until spring.
These actions are in response to the new Omicron strain of the Coronavirus that was discovered just recently and which caused countries around the world to go into panic mode yet again.
You can watch the President’s speech here:
The portion of the speech that’s travel-related begins at 23:50 and the exact phrase that was used regarding testing was “all inbound international travelers must test within one day of their departure regardless of vaccination status or nationality”.
The White House has earlier released a summary of the daily briefing:
Stronger Public Health Protocols for Safe International Travel: Last month, the Administration implemented stronger international travel protocols, including requirements for foreign travelers to be fully vaccinated. The very day the WHO identified the new Omicron variant, the Biden Administration took immediate steps to restrict travel from the countries in the region where it was confirmed to be spreading quickly. The President will announce additional steps to strengthen the safety of international travel as we face this new threat – just as we have faced those that have come before it.
- Strengthening global pre-departure testing protocols: Early next week, the United States will tighten pre-departure testing protocols by requiring all inbound international travelers to test within one day of departure globally, regardless of nationality or vaccination status. This tighter testing timeline provides an added degree of public health protection as scientists continue to assess the Omicron variant.
- Extending the requirement to wear a mask on airplanes, rail travel, and public transportation: The Administration will continue to require masking during international or other public travel – as well as in transportation hubs such as airports or indoor bus terminals – through March 18 as we continue to battle COVID-19 this winter. The Transportation Security Administration will extend its implementing orders to maintain these requirements through March 18. Fines will continue to be doubled from their initial levels for noncompliance with the masking requirements – with a minimum fine of $500 and fines of up to $3,000 for repeat offenders.
All of these measures do make sense and I think in light of what many other countries worldwide are requiring if they haven’t shut their doors already I consider these mild inconveniences but some that I’m gladly willing to take to be eligible to travel.
The new regulation will be effective December 6, 2021, 5:01 am so I suggest planning accordingly in terms of finding options for a test site that can provide results within a day of your departure as required.
Updated CDC Guidelines are available here:
All air passengers 2 years or older with a flight departing to the US from a foreign country at or after 12:01am EST (5:01am GMT) on December 6, 2021, are required show a negative COVID-19 viral test result taken no more than 1 day before travel, or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days, before they board their flight.
- Air passengers will also be required to confirm in the form of an attestation that the information they present is true.
For the full list of requirements and exemptions, please review the language in the Order.
No changes were made as to the test method. The U.S. still accepts Antigen tests as well as RT-PCR tests but the result must be certified in form of a protocol.
Finding a provider that offers an express test at all is the first challenge and then there is the cost involved with such an express testing method. I’ve seen prices range from free (southern Europe) to over US$300 (in the U.S. and Germany) for a turnaround within a few hours.
Here is my article from Tuesday night:
I’m glad the worst ideas that were swirling around and were published by the Washington Post didn’t come to fruition for the time being.
The U.S. government has confirmed new rules for incoming travel to the United States that will kick in from early next week [December 6, 2021]. You will then require a negative Covid test within one day of the departure. This usually relates to the first sector of any itinerary which is booked under the same record locator.
Keep in mind it might take some time to look around until you find a provider that can help you with this so adequate preparation and research for the next trip is paramount.