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UPDATED U.S. ENTRY REQUIREMENTS – NEGATIVE COVID-19 TEST REQUIRED FOR ALL INTERNATIONAL TRAVELERS

February 9, 2021
Airlines, Latin America, Press Releases, Tips and Tricks

At Tom Tours Agencia de Viajes we know how important it is to stay up-to-date with the ever-changing regulations for travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s why we’ve compiled the latest information in our travel blog so that you can travel safely and with surety. We will do our best to keep you informed, but please keep checking here for the most current updates as new regulations are implemented because the information in previous posts may become outdated.


As of January 26th, 2021, all international travelers arriving to the U.S. by air will be required to provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test or recent recovery from the virus.

Updated January 14, 2021

On January 12, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that all travelers arriving to the U.S. provide written or electronic documentation of a negative COVID-19 test. This order goes into effect on January 26, 2021 and the test can be either a PCR test or a rapid antigen test. All travelers entering the U.S. from abroad are subject to these new regulations. 

**PLEASE NOTE: The PCR or rapid antigen test must be taken a minimum of 3 days (72 hours) prior to the departure of your flight to the United States. Airlines WILL DENY BOARDING for any passenger who is out of compliance. 

Passengers must provide written or electronic documentation of test results to the airline prior to boarding. Alternatively, documented evidence of recovery from the virus will also be accepted as adequate verification. Airlines are instructed to confirm the “negative” status of each passenger, and those who do not provide documentation of their negative test or recovery, or who choose not to test, must be denied boarding according to CDC regulations. 

Furthermore, the CDC also recommends that travelers take a subsequent test three to five days and a self-imposed quarantine for seven days. after arrival to the U.S.


“Testing does not eliminate all risk, but when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations.”

Statement from CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

We’ve compiled the most common questions and concerns that our clients have about travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are doing our best to provide informative and straightforward advice to help you navigate the ever-changing regulations.

When does this new CDC regulation take effect?

  • January 26th, 2021

What are the requirements under the new regulation?

  • For direct flights, all travelers entering the U.S. internationally must take a viral COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) at least 3 calendar days prior to their flight. Written or electronic documentation of negative test results must be provided to the airline on the day of departure prior to boarding your flight to the U.S.
  • For connecting flights, these regulations apply to travelers if:
    • The connecting flights were booked as a complete itinerary with a final destination in the U.S.
    • The duration of each connection is no longer than 24 hours
**Please note: Regulations for passengers on connecting flights which do not meet the above requirements may vary depending on the specific exemptions that the CDC has provided to your airline. Please contact a Tom Tours agent or airline representative for specific details before travel.

Who is subject to the new regulation?

  • This order applies to all passengers, age 2 and older, traveling to the U.S. by air, including citizens, legal residents of the United States, and tourists.
  • Travelers arriving from U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands are exempt and do not have to provide test results.
  • Exemptions may be granted passengers traveling from a foreign country which lacks adequate COVID-19 testing capacity. These exemptions will be granted by the CDC to the airlines on a case-by-case basis and must be requested by the airline (not the traveler). Please check with a Tom Tours agent or airline representative if you think this applies to your travel plans.

What types of tests are accepted?

  • Results for viral tests which detect COVID-19 nucleic acids or antigens can be provided as adequate proof for entry into the United States. Nasal PCR testing is the most preferred method, however rapid (antigen) test results will also be accepted as valid.

Are there specific approved testing providers?

  • No, you may take your test through any organization which provides valid PCR or rapid testing.


How will test results be verified and documentation collected?

  • Airlines will collect the documentation and verify the negative results of every passenger before boarding.

What if a traveler returns to the U.S. from another country within 3 days?

  • The CDC has not provided directives for this case, but as soon as more information is released, we will update this page accordingly.

Do these regulations apply to travelers who have been vaccinated?

  • Yes. All travelers, age 2 and up, are required to comply with the same requirements even if they have received a COVID-19 inoculation.

Are travelers who have recently recovered from COVID-19 exempt?

  • Yes. Travelers who have contracted and recovered from COVID-19 are exempt if they can provide the following documentation:
    • Positive COVID-19 test result obtained at least 90 days prior to the flight into the U.S.
    • An official letterhead signed by a licensed healthcare provider which attests that
      the traveler has recovered and is cleared for travel.

Do airlines offer testing to travelers?

  • No. Airlines are not currently offering testing kits to travelers, however industry leaders are working with the CDC and governments of other countries to help facilitate more streamlined testing methods for international travelers. As of now, travelers are responsible for obtaining their own tests in accordance with CDC guidelines.

Can travelers change their travel plans in order to comply with the new regulation?

  • Each airline and travel provider will have its own terms and conditions regarding changes, cancellations, and rescheduling. Our team of experts at Tom Tours are working hard to make sure our clients have the most security and protection for their travel plans and will keep you fully informed of all the details you need to know for your trip.

The experts at Tom Tours Agencia de Viajes are working closely with our industry partners to ensure that our clients have all the information they need to travel safely and with peace of mind.


Important Links

In order to ensure that our clients and our community can travel safely, we’ve put together informational press releases for a variety of our most popular destinations. We’ve compiled this information from first-hand resources such as local experts, business partners, and trusted contacts in each location so that you have the best and most relevant guidance on local procedures, testing methodology and procurement, and anything else you need to know before traveling. 

Please note that Tom Tours has no affiliation with clinics or doctors in these countries and the following is provided for informational purposes only. 

The above information has been obtained from our travel industry partners and directly from the CDC at their website below:


Please keep checking back here for the most recent details on travel restrictions and regulations. We will update our website and posts as new information becomes available.

– Department of Communication – Tom Tours

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