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Updated January 2023
Although the pandemic is finally over, COVID testing remains a norm worldwide to keep travelling safe. America is open for vaccinated tourists, but the country has mandated strict testing measures across its borders to ensure that the virus doesn’t resurge.
The US requires a negative PCR COVID-19 test for all incoming international travellers, including US citizens. Here are the latest PCR test entry requirements in the US that you should be aware of.
PCR testing requirements in the US
The USA’s pre-arrival testing requirements depend entirely upon where the passenger is flying from.
All air passengers, 2 years or older, travelling to the US must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test result or documentation of recovery in the last 90 days if:
- they are travelling to the USA from China, Macau, or Hong Kong
- they have been in any of the countries in the 10 days before travel to the US
- are flying from the Incheon International Airport in Seoul, Republic of Korea, Toronto Pearson International Airport in Canada, or Vancouver International Airport in Canada.
The test must have been taken 2 days before travel.
Passengers must be tested with a viral test that could be either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT). Rapid tests are also acceptable as long as they are viral tests. This includes:
- reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)
- reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP)
- transcription-mediated amplification (TMA)
- nicking enzyme amplification reaction (NEAR)
- helicase-dependent amplification (HDA)
The test result must be written documentation, either on printed paper or as an electronic copy. It must be authorized for use by the relevant national authority to detect SARS-CoV-2 in the country where the test is administered.
PCR not required
If you are not travelling from any of the locations and airports specified above, you are not required to take a COVID test before travelling to the US.
Nevertheless, you are still advised to consider getting tested within the 3 days before departure and to avoid travelling in case of positive result.
What about testing at the airport?
At present, there is no COVID screening required at US airports. You will need to get a COVID-19 viral test before travelling and show your negative result to the airline before you boarding only if you’re flying from certain countries or airports.
Testing after travel
The USA’s post-arrival testing requirements have also been relaxed.
You are encouraged, but not required to:
- get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel. If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
- self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
The state, tribal, local, or territorial requirements and recommendations, however, may be different. You are therefore advised to check them as well.
Children under the age of 2 are exempted from submitting a negative PCR test result, even if they are coming from China, Macau, Hong Kong or any of the specified airports.
Passengers from these locations and airports are also exempt if they have documented recovery from COVID-19 in the past 90 days.