Starting Jan. 26, 2021 CDC applied new requirement for international travels.
As a destination wedding professional and a travel advisor, it is important for me to stay current of the new policies to ensure my clients have the knowledge needed to make decisions regarding traveling outside US.
Following is a quick overview of the new Coronavirus travel restrictions for entering the U.S. along with some frequently asked questions.
Beginning Jan. 26, any passengers, 2 years or older, traveling to the United States by air (including U.S. citizens returning home from trips abroad) must present negative results from a COVID-19 test when they check in for those U.S.-bound flights. They must have taken that test within 3 calendar days of the scheduled departure date and time for that flight to the United States. Without those results, they will not be allowed to board the flight.
Both molecular tests ( PRC, RT-PCR or NAAT) and rapid antigen tests will be accepted.
Proof of vaccination at the time does not qualify as proof of meeting the requirement
As an alternative to the test results, passengers may show proof that they’ve recovered from COVID-19 within the past 3 months (e.g., a letter from a healthcare provider). If you’ve recovered from COVID-19 more than 90 days from your date of travel, you will be required to be tested within 3 days of your scheduled departure.
Many resorts and hotels will offer testing on-site, so you can take the test and receive your results within the 3-day window before your flight home to the United States. Now more than ever it is important to have a travel advisor like myself to make sure you have the best options and assistance.
Some destinations and resort/hotel companies are already offering free testing for your return flight home. If free tests aren’t available on your trip, a travel advisor can check with your travel insurer to see if your policy will cover the testing costs.
If you do not opt for insurance ( I do not recommend this anyway) or your insurance do not cover the costs as guideline you can expect to pay around $150 for a molecular test with a turn around response of 1to 3 days and between $25 to $65 for an antigen test with a turn around of 15/30 min. *
*Please verify exact cost before departing with the local authorities of your destination.
If your test results are positive, you won’t be allowed to board your scheduled flight. However, your travel insurer may cover the cost of staying longer in the destination so you can repeat the test to prevent a “false positive”, (or you may need to quarantine there if you have COVID-19 and the insurer may cover those costs as well). Also, some destinations such as the Dominican Republic are offering free COVID-19 coverage to all visitors who arrive by air and stay in a hotel, so that coverage may cover some of these costs too.
Some resorts are offering complimentary quarantine stays for those who test positive, others are offering 50% off. Some will not offer any help and this is where you would rely on having proper travel insurance
Under these new rules, your results must come from a test that was taken within 3 days of your scheduled departure date and time, even if the departure is delayed so that your test falls beyond those 72 hours. It’s important to work with a travel professional and get the best options for travel insurance so that trip delay or interruption costs are covered under your policy.
Who is checking my test results?
You will need to present your documentation at your airline. This is why at the time this article is written January 30th 2021, check in online is not allowed so everybody should arrive at the airport about 3h previous.
Please stay tuned for any changes about this.
Yes, this is another big bump on the road for now if you want to travel abroad but please keep in mind that the goal is to keep everybody safe and manage the spread of the virus so that we can go back to a new normal.
I have to say that I was impress of the quick response of some resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico. In fact If you are planning a trip to Mexico or the Caribbean, I believe you will experience a seamless and easy process at the majority of resorts that a travel pro would recommend.
If you are concerned but still want to travel, it is recommended you get tested prior to leaving for your trip, even if the destination doesn’t require it.
If you think about it ,I would much rather have you find out that you can’t go while at home than get there and be stuck.
I believe a negative test just before you depart will give you peace of mind that you’ll likely test negative in destination.
If there is something clear is how important it is to work with a travel professional to book an international vacation in today’s climate. There are too many variables and if you need someone to help you, it is best to have that person know what they’re doing and have the right connections to assist you.
Please check periodically the CDC site for updates since things can change day by day