December 3, 2021

The CDC has officially issued an amended Order related to the testing requirement that applies to all inbound travelers to the U.S. at least two years of age or older.  Effective Monday, December 6, 2021 at 12:01 AM EDT, all inbound travelers to the U.S. must present either:

  1. A negative COVID-19 test taken no more than one day (24 hours) before their flight’s departure; or
  2. Documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 within the previous 90 days, which should include a positive COVID-19 test taken within the previous 90 days before their flight and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or public health official stating that the passenger has been cleared for travel.

It is important to note that the new 24-hour testing requirement applies to all passengers two years in age and older regardless of vaccination status.  Accepted tests are NAAT or viral antigen tests cleared, approved, or issued emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”).

Under the amended Order,  airlines will be required to confirm that every passenger onboard an inbound flight to the U.S. presented a negative test or documentation of recovery and verify that every passenger has provided an attestation to either having received a negative test or if recently recovered from COVID-19 to being cleared for travel.  Links to the CDC’s amended Order and updated attestation requirements are provided for your reference.

Although not stated in the Order, CDC is providing a three-day “grace period” of enforcement discretion, meaning that carriers may board and transport passengers who present a negative test taken within three days of departure (according to previous guidance) until Thursday, December 9, 2021 at 12:01 AM EDT.  Additionally, in recognition of the difficulties airlines and passengers may face in complying with the amended Order, the U.S. government has said that it will provide a list of approximately 24 countries deemed not to have the capabilities to provide test results within one day and will allow passengers coming from those countries to continue to present a negative test within three days of departure.  We will provide any additional information on this as soon as we receive it.

In response to the new changes, the International Air Transport Association (“IATA”) will hold an industry-only call on Monday, December 6, 2021 at 8:00 AM EDT to discuss the new CDC Order and obtain feedback from airlines on any issues. 

In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about the CDC’s amended Order, please do not hesitate to contact Evelyn Sahr or Drew Derco.

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Evelyn D. Sahr Photo Washington, D.C.

Evelyn D. Sahr

Member - Washington, D.C.

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Drew M. Derco Photo Washington, D.C.

Drew M. Derco

Member-in-Charge - Washington, D.C.

See full bio