In early November 2021, the US lifted its imposed travel ban after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic during early 2020. Within three weeks, scientists in South Africa discovered a new variant of COVID- 19 - Omicron. This again prompted new guidelines for travelers.
Change in test guidelines
Previously, if you were fully vaccinated, you had to show a COVID-19 negative test taken within three days of your departure. Now, you need to establish a COVID-19 negative test taken before a day of your departure. This means you need to schedule a test in advance to avoid complications at the last minute.
What kind of tests are accepted?
- Antigen (lateral flow) test or nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT)
- RT-PCR test (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction)
- RT-Lamp (Reverse Transcription loop-mediated amplification)
- Transcription Mediated Amplification (TMA)
- Nicking enzyme amplification reaction (NEAR)
- Helicase-dependent amplification (HDA)
When are you considered fully vaccinated?
- Two weeks (14 days) after your dose of an accepted single-dose vaccine
- Two weeks (14 days) after your second dose of an accepted 2-dose series
- Two weeks (14 days) after you received the complete series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine (not placebo) in a clinical trial
- Two weeks (14 days) after you received the complete series of a Novavax (or Covovax) COVID-19 vaccine (not placebo) in phase 3 clinical trial
- Two weeks (14 days) after you received two doses of any "mix-and-match" combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart
Follow these to avoid any last-minute glitches in your travel plans.