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No More COVID Test to Fly Home to the US

You’ve been looking forward to a well-deserved vacation abroad this summer, if only you could shake that fear of missing your return flight home because of a mix-up with COVID testing…

Maybe you’ve even been so worried about this pre-departure testing requirement that you’ve given up on the idea of going abroad altogether this year. Again. Cheers, pandemic!

Afraid to travel in case you can't get home? You’re not alone.

Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, yet there’s perhaps nothing less relaxing than the thought of being stranded overseas because of a false positive test or some unforeseen delay in getting your test results!

A family checking in at a kiosk in an airport after their family vacation

It’s hard enough worrying about visas and other travel documents, this requirement to test has been a headache for so many clients and plenty of my travel advisor colleagues continue to point out that the hassle and uncertainty has just been too much for their clients – it’s been simpler to enjoy a domestic trip or put off the family vacation altogether.

If you’ve not been abroad during the last year or so, all air passengers heading to the US aged 2 and older have been required to show proof of a negative test result from a “sample taken less than a day” prior to your return flight home, or to show proof of recovery from a COVID infection during the previous 90 days.

The rules change this weekend, don’t worry!

As swathes of the globe look past the pandemic, few other countries expect visitors to

provide proof of a negative test result at this time, let alone demand it of their own citizens returning home.

So although it is no surprise that the requirement for a pre-departure test will be dropped, the rapidity of change was impressive nonetheless.

In fact, it was only yesterday that the Director of the CDC, Rochelle Walensky signed into effect a rescission to the rule – and the rescission has moved at a pace which will allow the rule to change within 48 hours! That’s impressive for any level of government!

No pre-departure test from Sunday, June 12th

As of 12:01 AM EDT on Sunday the 12th of June, 2022, that’s one minute past the stroke of midnight tonight if you’re in Miami or New York, passengers arriving into the United States will no longer need to provide proof of a negative COVID test result or proof of recent infection.

Having read the rescission document, it is not clear to me if that rule change applies to passengers departing prior to 12:01AM or arriving after 12:01AM. You may want to get in touch with your airline if you’ve got a flight home this weekend!

A woman presents her digital vaccination certificate during a vacation to Europe

Navigating visas and electronic travel documents is stressful enough, adding the pressures of finding a legitimate test site with accessible hours of operation, the worry of hidden costs or delays, and who knows what you’d do if you got a positive or even false positive result!

What to do if you already have a COVID test booked?

You may not be able to cancel your scheduled test and enjoy a refund, the T&Cs of your original appointment should make it clear if you can, however. You may also just enjoy the peace of mind a negative result affords and wish to keep your test scheduled, knowing you’re returning home to friends & family.

Despite the requirement to test being dropped, the CDC does still recommend a test both before you leave home and just prior to your return. You should travel with the recommended documents when you do leave the country, including passport and any required proof of vaccination or previous recovery certifications.

And remember, requirements can and do change. You'll also encounter different requirements wherever it is your trip takes you. If in doubt, reach out to a professional travel advisor or ask in our Forums.

For more information on the specifics of the change, including the originally posted Rescission: Requirement for Negative Pre-Departure COVID-19 Test Result or Documentation of Recovery from COVID-19 for all Airline or Other Aircraft Passengers Arriving into the United States from Any Foreign Country visit the CDC’s page here.


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