covid test

Do You Need a COVID Test to Fly? It Depends Where You're Heading

All air passengers coming into the U.S. from another country, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result

Chris Helgren | Reuters

With the relaxing of travel restrictions across the globe and summer days inching closer, many Americans intend to set off on vacations in the coming months.

But before their trips begin, some may be wondering whether a COVID-19 test is necessary.

If you're fully vaccinated and embarking on a flight within the U.S., you won't need to be tested for COVID-19 or self-quarantine, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The same criteria applies for those who've recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months.

After traveling, people are asked to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, and if such symptoms develop, get tested and isolate.

If you're traveling internationally, whether a COVID-19 test is required largely depends on your destination as rules and regulations vary widely. The CDC strongly recommends that people don't leave the country until they're fully vaccinated.

All air passengers coming into the U.S. from another country, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated individuals, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than three days before a given trip or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months.

The testing requirement doesn't require to children under 2 years old.

Unvaccinated people are encouraged to undergo a viral test 1-3 days before their trip when traveling inside the country as well as internationally, the CDC said. Along with social distancing and washing their hands often, unvaccinated individuals should get tested using a viral test 3-5 days after returning home, the agency added.

Even those who receive negative test results are advised to stay home and self-quarantine for the full recommended period of seven days.

Major U.S. airlines have also created guidance to help passengers determine whether their trip requires a negative COVID-19 test result and what other precautions, if any, are necessary.

Chicago-based United Airlines offers testing options to customers flying on certain routes and to select destinations, the company said on its website, adding it "continues to explore more ways to make COVID-19 testing more accessible."

Southwest Airlines explained it's "closely monitoring the ongoing government restrictions for travel" and provided detailed information regarding each of its international destinations on its website.

Regardless of your destination or whether you've been vaccinated, wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains and other modes of public transportation traveling to, within, or out of the United States.

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