A lot of Americans are beginning to travel again thanks to the aggressive US vaccination program. Currently, more than 40% of eligible adult Americans are fully vaccinated. However, through the Center for Disease Control (CDC,) the US government requires negative COVID test results before passengers may enter (or re-enter) the United States. This does create some anxiety for travelers trying to find testing centers while abroad. Now, there’s good news for travelers contemplating an international trip this summer. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) CDC Changes COVID-19 testing requirements for returning to the United States.
Now, at-home COVID-19 tests (including rapid tests) will be accepted at the border!
This is welcome news, especially for travelers seeking to take advantage as Europe Opens to Vaccinated Americans As Early as June 9th!
CDC Changes COVID-19 Testing – Fly Now and Test Yourself
If you’re planning travel out of the country and don’t want to have to worry about finding and visiting a foreign lab to complete a COVID-19 test (and getting the results in time), you can now pack an at-home kit and test yourself. You can test yourself in the convenience of your hotel room before heading to the airport for your flight home.
Specific Requirements of Testing
COVID tests must be taken no more than three days before departure (not necessarily arrival) to the United States.
Your test must follow the following requirements:
- The test must be a SARS-CoV-2 viral test (nucleic acid amplification test [NAAT] or antigen test) with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- The testing procedure must be supervised by a telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test. There must be real-time supervision over the sample taking through an audio and video connection.
- The telehealth provider must verify the tested person’s identity. They must also observe the sample collection and testing. The provider will confirm test results and issue a test result report that complies with the CDC’s Order.
- Passengers must also be able to present the test results documentation to U.S. officials at the port of entry, if requested.
The test results provided must include the following information for acceptance:
- Type of test (antigen or NAAT test)
- Entity who issued the test (e.g. healthcare entity, laboratory, or telehealth service)
- Test sample collection date
- Information which provides identification of the test-administer plus one other identifier (full name, plus one other identifier, such as date of birth or passport number)
- Test result
Where to Get an At Home COVID Test
Currently, only one at-home (or self-test) meets the CDC requirements to be used for international travelers seeking to enter (or re-enter) the United States.
Abbot’s BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag At-Home Test Kit (available at CVS Pharmacies) includes virtual test supervision when purchased through eMed. It can be purchased for $150, which includes six tests. With it, you can take it anywhere in the world and get your results within 15 minutes. The test also does not require a prescription from your healthcare provider.
Need a Personal Self-Test?
If you are looking for a COVID self-test, I recommend the Lucira Check It COVID-19 Test Kit. It is the first and only single-use FDA EUA authorized PCR quality molecular home test that provides results in 30 minutes or less! It is available from Amazon, so that means quick delivery for most US addresses.
The reason I like the Lucira is you get verified test results on your phone. Lucira developed the LUCI PASS, a free and secure way to receive a digital verified test result on your phone. Take the test then text to the number included in the enclosed instructions. You are guided step-by-step to receive your LUCI PASS verified test result. This is useful for work, school, events, and more. Unfortunately, that is not yet approved by the CDC to meet the entry to the United States requirements.
In time, I do expect the CDC to relax even further, or completely eliminate the negative PCR test result for vaccinated travelers. This could be accomplished through the acceptance of a digital health passport. Digital health passports could provide verification of vaccinations for travelers; negating the need for pre-arrival COVID testing.
You could look for other test kits available here from Amazon.
While traveling make sure you are carrying lots of personal sanitizer and face masks for your protection and the protection of others. For an all-in-one package, Go2Kits All-In-One Ultimate Personal Protection Kit is available for less than $8. The kit includes necessities such as two 3-ply face masks, 4 disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, soft tissues and a guide on hygiene tips.
Can You Enter the US With No Test Results?
Even though the CDC Changed COVID-19 Testing requirements, they still do not allow testing upon arrival for entry into the country. In case you are wondering what happens if a traveler refuses (or forgets) to take a test. According to the CDC, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.
RELATED POST: These Countries Are Welcoming Vaccinated Travelers
The rules have been relaxed a bit requiring negative COVID tests for passengers entering the United States. The CDC Changes COVID-19 testing requirements, now allowing at-home COVID-19 tests (including rapid tests.)
This should help reduce the stress of travel for many. It may also provide a boost to reopening international travel.
Does having a COVID self-test option appeal to you?
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