The US Is Ending Its COVID-19 Testing Requirement for International Travelers

The pre-departure testing restriction is due to lift at midnight on Sunday

Passport, face mask, boarding pass and Covid PCR test at the airport check-in desk
Paul Biris / Getty Images

It's a good day for the travel industry in the United States. Per a CNN report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to announce today the removal of the COVID-19 testing requirement for all travelers entering the U.S. by air. The restriction will lift at midnight on Sunday, June 12.

Since January 2021, air travelers flying to the U.S. have been required to test negative for COVID-19 before entry. Most recently, the testing time frame for all travelers has been one day before departure. That measure has long limited travel to the country by international visitors and worried American travelers returning home from abroad.

The travel industry has been pressuring the White House to remove the test requirement for months, citing the ineffectiveness of such testing in preventing the spread of the disease.

"Science has shown time and time again that the pre-departure testing requirement is not effective and is not stopping or even slowing the spread of COVID. Quite frankly, the only impact the pre-departure testing requirement is having is a chilling effect on an already fragile economy here in the U.S.," Nicholas E. Calio, president and CEO of lobbying group Airlines for America, said in a statement on May 31, following a meeting at the White House on the topic.

Dozens of countries worldwide have lifted their testing and quarantine requirements for travelers, including the majority of Europe and the Caribbean, two tourism hotspots.

Still, the U.S. is seeing a slight rise in COVID-19 cases, though numbers are still far below that of the Omicron outbreak in December 2021 and January 2022. The CDC continues to advocate for vaccinations and booster shots among the American population. Though breakthrough cases occur in vaccinated individuals, their risk of hospitalization and death is significantly decreased compared to unvaccinated individuals.

As such, the CDC will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19, reevaluating the need for a travel test requirement every 90 days.

Article Sources
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  1. CNN. "The New U.S. Covid-19 Test Requirement for Travelers: What You Need to Know." January 25, 2021.

  2. NYTimes. "I'm a U.S. Citizen. Where in the World Can I Travel To Right Now?" June 8, 2022.