Covid Vaccine and Testing Requirements When Entering the U.S.: What You Need to Know

The U.S. travel ban lifted on Nov. 8

Dec 15, 2021

A traveler flying to the U.S. during Covid

Tourists from around the world touched down in the United States on Monday after the country lifted months-long travel restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

If you’re ready to visit loved ones in the United States or you simply want to sightsee, here’s what you need to know before you travel.

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COVId-19 faqs: traveling to the united states

Do I need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to enter the U.S.?

Most international travelers entering the U.S. will need to be fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccination before boarding a U.S.-bound flight. Those applying for a green card will also need to show proof of full vaccination when attending the immigration medical exam.

Do I need to be fully vaccinated if I am an American citizen or lawful permanent resident?

If you’re a U.S. citizen or green card holder you will need to either show proof of full vaccination or a negative Covid test taken within 24 hours before departure. Those who are fully vaccinated will need to show proof of full vaccination as well as a negative Covid test also taken within 24 hours of departure.

Who is exempt from the vaccination requirements?

The following groups do not need to show proof of vaccination:

  • Children under the age of 18
  • Certain Covid-19 vaccine trial participants
  • Those traveling for emergency or humanitarian reasons
  • Those traveling from countries with low vaccine availability
  • Members of the military and their immediate families
  • Airline and ship crew
  • Diplomats and their families

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for more information.

Which vaccines are accepted?

Any vaccines approved by the CDC or those approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) will be accepted. Currently, these are:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • AstraZeneca
  • Covaxin
  • Covishield
  • BIBP/Sinopharm
  • Sinovac

See the CDC website for more details.

What are acceptable forms of proof of vaccination?

International travelers should provide a paper or digital vaccine record to airlines before flying. The record should include their full name and date of birth, the vaccine type, and the dates when the vaccines were given.

Do children need to get a pre-departure Covid test?

Children between 2 and 17 are required to take a Covid test before travel. Unvaccinated children traveling with fully vaccinated adults will need to show proof of a negative test taken within 3 days of travel. Children traveling alone or with unvaccinated adults will need to show proof of a negative test taken within one day of departure.

What types of Covid tests are accepted?

Travelers must either show a negative Covid test or proof they’ve recovered from Covid within 90 days of departure. Nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATS), like a PCR test, and antigen tests are accepted. Learn more here about which tests qualify.

How does the new contract tracing system work?

The CDC requires that airlines collect phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses from travelers so they can be contacted while in the United States.

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