Pre-departure COVID-19 Testing
To be able to enter the USA you will need to get a negative ANTIGEN COVID-19 viral test - regardless of vaccination status or citizenship - no more than 1 day before you travel by air into the United States.
The 1-day period is 1 day before the flight’s departure.
The U.S. Government uses a 1-day time frame instead of 24 hours to provide more flexibility to the air passenger and airlines. By using a 1-day window, test acceptability does not depend on the time of the flight or the time of day that the test sample was taken.
For example, if your flight is at 1 pm on a Friday, you could board with a negative test that was taken any time on the prior Thursday.
You must be tested with a viral test to look for current infection – these include rapid or viral antigen tests.
PCR tests are also acceptable, but we do not recommend it as getting the test result usually takes significantly longer than for antigen tests.
You must also be able to present the documentation of the negative test results to your airline and to U.S. officials at the port of entry and local/state health departments if requested.
In some countries, you may have access to free home rapid antigen tests that are used on a regular basis. This type of test cannot be used as you do not receive official documentation of the negative result.
If you travel from a Non- English speaking country, please request your test result in English.
A test result must be in the form of written documentation (paper or digital copy). The documentation must include:
- Type of test
- The entity issuing the result (e.g., laboratory, healthcare entity, or telehealth service)
- Sample collection date
- A negative test result must show the sample was taken no more than 1 day before the flight.
- Information that identifies the person (full name plus at least one other identifier such as date of birth or passport number)
- Test result
In certain countries, home tests are also available, but this testing procedure must include a telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test that provides real-time supervision remotely through a video connection.
If you are denied boarding please speak to the airline about the next steps and rebook the next flight before departing the airport. Many airports have a testing centre on-site. Once you are rebooked please notify camp leaders and your camp.
Recent Recovery from COVID-19
If you have recently recovered from COVID-19, instead of testing, you may travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19.
If you have had a positive viral test on a sample taken during the past 90 days but 10 full days before departure, you may travel instead with your positive viral test results and a signed letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official that states you have been cleared for travel according to CDC’s travel guidance.
The positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.”
The documentation from your healthcare provider or a public health official must-have information that identifies you personally (e.g., name and date of birth) that matches the personal information on your passport or other travel documents.
The letter must be signed and dated on official letterhead that contains the name, address, and phone number of the healthcare provider or public health official who signed the letter.
If you have recovered from COVID-19 but are not able to obtain documentation of recovery that fulfils the requirements, you will need to show a negative COVID-19 viral test result from a sample taken no more than 1 day before your flight to the US departs.
Even if you have recovered from COVID-19, if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 you should isolate, not travel, and consult with a healthcare provider for testing recommendations.
CDC recommends passengers keep their COVID-19 test results for 14 days after reaching their final destination in the United States in case they are requested to show it to a U.S. government official or a cooperation state or local public health authority.
Flying to America
Airlines must confirm the negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before boarding. If you forget or choose not to present a test result or documentation of recovery, the airline must not allow you to board.
If the first flight in your trip is delayed past the 1-day limit of testing due to a situation outside of your control (e.g., delays because of severe weather or aircraft mechanical problem), and that delay is 24 hours or less past the 1-day limit for testing, you do not need to be retested. If the delay is more than 24 hours past the 1- day limit, then you will need to be retested.
If a connecting flight in your trip is delayed past the 1-day limit of testing due to a situation outside of your control (e.g., delays because of severe weather or aircraft mechanical problem), and that delay is less than 48 hours past the 1-day limit for testing, you do not need to be retested. If the delay is more than 48 hours past the 1-day limit, then you will need to be retested.
Our top tips regarding Covid tests:
- Choose a provider which guarantees same day, quick results in English.
- Always pre-book your Antigen test appointment to secure your spot. You will travel in the busy summer vacation season. Without your test result, you can not travel.
- We recommend booking a morning test appointment to get the result on time.
- We recommend you skip farewell parties this year, try to limit your personal contacts 10 days before your departure and wear a mask if you can to avoid your travel delay.
What should I do if my test result comes back positive?
You must contact your LOCAL office as soon as possible. Your local office will help you with the next steps and inform your employer and visa sponsor. Most likely, you will be able to travel to the USA 10 full days later if you no longer have COVID symptoms.