International passengers headed to the United States will first need to show proof of a negative coronavirus test, according to a new federal policy initiated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention going into effect on Jan. 26. The new policy requires all air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, to get a test within the three days before their flight to the U.S. departs, and to provide written documentation of their test results.
Proof of immunization will not be sufficient, and the agency will not require further testing in the three months after a positive test, as long as the traveler has not had any symptoms. In this situation, a passenger may travel with documentation of the positive test result and a letter from a health care provider stating that the traveler has been cleared for travel.
Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or the documentation of recovery before they board. The policy expands on a similar rule, implemented in late December, when reports that a more contagious variant of the coronavirus had become the source of the majority of infections in much of England. The C.D.C. currently recommends that all air travelers, including those flying within the United States, get tested one to three days before travel, and again three to five days after the trip is complete. Many airlines offer optional testing for passengers, but mandate it only when destinations require them to do so.