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CDC To Accept Some COVID-19 Home Tests For International Travelers

COVID-19 Home Tests

Approved COVID-19 Home Tests To Be Accepted For Air Passengers Arriving In The U.S.

On 7 May 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the “Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States” (ordered 12 January 2021) to reflect that home or self-administered tests are acceptable as long as they are a viral test acceptable under the Order.

COVID-19 Home Test 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). Example: Abbott BinaxNow Home Test.
  • 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 home-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.

Key Points

  • 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. Some countries may restrict the importation of tests that are not authorized or registered there.
  • All air passengers traveling to the US, regardless of vaccination or antibody status, are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery.

Test Result Requirements

A test result must be in the form of written documentation (paper or electronic copy). The documentation must include:

  1. Type of test (indicating it is a NAAT or antigen test)
  2. The entity issuing the result (e.g. laboratory, healthcare entity, or telehealth service)
  3. 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.
  4. Information that identifies the person (full name plus at least one other identifier such as date of birth or passport number)
  5. Test Result

Ready to travel? Check advisories for travel during COVID-19, including regulations for destinations, and safety and health guidelines.

When To Test

Get tested no more than 3 days before your flight to the US departs. Make sure to be tested with a viral test (NAAT or antigen test) to determine if you are currently infected with COVID-19. Also, make sure that you receive your results before your flight departs and have documentation of your results to show the airline.

Learn more on the CDC website.


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