New Covid-19 Omicron Variant: US Imposes New International Requirements

As of March 16th, all individuals (including U.S. citizens) entering the United States from abroad will have to be fully vaccinated and present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 24 hours of their departure. Previously, individuals were required to be fully vaccinated and supply a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure. The updated testing requirement applies to all individuals two years of age and older. Meeting the one-day testing requirement may be challenging in some countries. In addition, mask requirements on all public transportation will continue until mid-March 2022, instead of mid-January 2022. So what do these new requirements mean for travelers?

If you are planning to travel internationally, it is important to know about the new requirements and how they may affect you. You will need to plan ahead to make sure that you can be vaccinated before your departure date, which, depending on your destination, may require an appointment with a travel vaccination center up to 30 days in advance of your trip. If the vaccine is not available at a local facility or if you do not have time to get it, contact our office for assistance and we will help you obtain the required vaccinations without compromising travel plans.

Newly arriving travelers should expect increased scrutiny by CBP (Customs and Border Protection) when they arrive in the US. According to CDC’s guidance: “All crew members entering the United States from any foreign location during this [Covid-19] pandemic will be required to have a negative COVID-19 test taken within 24 hours prior to arrival in the United States.” This means that, even if you are not feeling sick, you may be subject to a health screening and could be denied entry into the country if you do not meet the new requirements.

Masks are still required on all public transportation in the US until March 2022. So whether you are traveling by plane, train, or bus, it is important to bring a mask with you and wear it during your trip. If you are unable to bring your own mask, many large airports and train stations have masks available for free.

It is also important to remember that these new travel requirements are in response to COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses. Make sure to wash your hands often and avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are feeling ill, it is best to delay your trip until you have fully recovered.

The geographic travel restrictions that prevented individuals who had been in over 30 countries within 14 days of their trip to the United States were lifted in exchange for vaccination and testing requirements. November 29, 2021. 14-day travel restrictions were again implemented, but this time for travelers coming from eight countries in southern Africa. The new vaccination and testing requirements will be applied to all travelers – even those who are exempt or receive National Interest Waivers (NIEs) from the southern African restriction. NIEs previously granted under other proclamations are no longer valid.

It is important to check out testing options in your country of travel to ensure that you can get the correct test result within the 24-hour window. So far, the new US requirements for international travel response seem to be directed mainly at people travelling from southern Africa. Make sure you are up-to-date on the latest changes and check with your travel agent or consulate to see what steps you need to take in order to be able to travel without any issues. We will continue to update this page as more information becomes available.