The rules for entry to the USA, include the normal visa rules, which we will not explain as they are complex, and depend on the passport you hold, the country you live in and where you are travelling from. If you can normally apply for an Electronic Entry Visa to the USA then you can still do, which is for most passport holders including all the EU and UK. Official online application site is Official ESTA Application Website, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (dhs.gov)
If you plan to travel internationally, you will need to get a viral test no more than 3 days before you travel by air into the United States (US) and show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight, or be prepared to show documentation of recovery (proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).
What types of SARS-CoV-2 test are acceptable under the Order?
Passengers must be tested with a viral test that could be either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT). Examples of available NAATs for SARS-CoV-2 include but are not restricted to reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP), transcription-mediated amplification (TMA), nicking enzyme amplification reaction (NEAR), and helicase-dependent amplification (HDA). The test used must be authorized for use by the relevant national authority for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the country where the test is administered. A viral test conducted for U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) personnel, including DOD contractors, dependents, and other U.S. government employees, and tested by a DOD laboratory located in a foreign country also meets the requirements of the Order.Can I get a rapid test?
Rapid tests are acceptable as long as they are a viral test acceptable under the Order.Does a self-test meet the conditions of the Order?
International air passengers traveling to the United States can use a self-test (sometimes referred to as home test) that meets the following criteria:
- 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 include a telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test that provides real-time supervision remotely through an audio and video connection. Some FDA-authorized self-tests that include a telehealth service may require a prescription.
- The telehealth provider must confirm the person’s identity, observe the specimen collection and testing procedures, confirm the test result, and issue a report that meets the requirements of CDC’s Order (see “What information must be included in the test result?” below).
- Airlines and other aircraft operators must be able to review and confirm the person’s identity and the test result details. The passenger must also be able to present the documentation of test results to U.S. officials at the port of entry and local/state health departments, if requested.
For travelers who test positive, CDC recommends the telehealth provider report positive test results to relevant public health authorities in the traveler’s location following local requirements. The telehealth provider should also counsel the traveler on what they and their close contacts should do. This would include not traveling until they complete isolation (if infected) or quarantine (if exposed), in accordance with local requirements.
Some countries may restrict importation of tests that are not authorized or registered there. Travelers who are considering bringing a U.S.-authorized test with them for use outside of the United States should contact authorities at their destination for information before they travel.What information must be included on the test result?
A test result must be in the form of written documentation (paper or electronic copy). The documentation must include:
- Type of test (indicating it is a NAAT or antigen test)
- Entity issuing the result (e.g. laboratory, healthcare entity, or telehealth service)
- Specimen collection date. A negative test result must show the specimen was collected within the 3 days before the flight. A positive test result for documentation of recovery from COVID-19 must show the specimen was collected within the 3 months before the flight.
- Information that identifies the person (full name plus at least one other identifier such as date of birth or passport number)
- Test Result
Does a negative test result or documentation of recovery need to be in English?
Airlines and other aircraft operators must be able to confirm the test result and review other required information, and should determine when translation is necessary for these purposes. Passengers whose documents are in a language other than English should check with their airline or aircraft operator before travel.If a passenger has tested positive for COVID-19, and then tests negative, can that passenger travel?
Individuals with known or suspected COVID-19 should self-isolate and NOT travel until they have met CDC’s criteria for discontinuing isolation.If a passenger has a negative test, but was a close contact of a known COVID case, can that passenger travel?
Individuals who are not fully vaccinated and have had close contact with a person with COVID-19 (i.e., who are considered exposed to COVID-19), should self-quarantine and NOT travel until they have met CDC criteria for discontinuing quarantine. Individuals who are fully vaccinated, or who have documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months, do not have to self-quarantine after exposure to a person with COVID-19 and can travel unless they have COVID-19 symptoms.
Please check the country you are travelling from is allowed into the USA, some countries are banned from entry due to covid-19, the current upto date list is Travelers Prohibited from Entry to the United States | CDC