Illinois Tourism & Travel

Crazy About Travel

Here are the new rules to enter the U.S. from abroad

The rules of international travel are changing — again.

The emergence of the omicron variant of Covid in southern Africa and its detection around the world has sparked a host of new travel requirements and, in some cases, outright bans — further complicating international trips that were just starting to pick up.

Three weeks after lifting a blanket pandemic travel ban on more than 30 countries, the Biden administration on Nov. 29 banned visitors from South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Starting Monday, the U.S. is implementing stricter testing requirements for inbound travelers, including U.S. citizens, forcing travelers to make time and to budget for Covid tests closer to their departure date.

Rules have changed quickly. Here is what U.S.-bound air travelers need to know:

What is changing?

Starting Monday, air travelers flying to the U.S. from abroad will need to show airlines proof of a negative Covid test result that was taken within one day of departure before being allowed to board. That includes U.S. citizens and vaccinated travelers.

Previously, vaccinated visitors, permanent residents and citizens had to show a test within three days of departure for the U.S.

When do travelers have to take their test?

The Centers for Disease Control says specimens must have been collected one calendar day before departure.

What types of Covid tests are accepted?

Both antigen and nucleic acid amplification tests, or NAAT, including PCR, results will be accepted.

Do I need to take a test when I land in the U.S.

Do the new rules apply to land crossing into the U.S.?

No. The new rules are solely for air travel.

Can I cancel my flight?