From January 26th, 2021, ALL travelers, American citizens included, will have to show a negative Covid-19 test before boarding aircraft arriving in the United States.

This is a first and that doesn’t mean that the travel ban is lifted. The travel ban is still valid until terminated by the President as detailed here.

The Columbus Consulting group shared this document in a questions & answers format to help you understand the requirement about the Covid 19 test before entering the US.

  • Do I need a negative COVID-19 test result to enter the U.S.?

Yes. Any aircraft passenger departing from any foreign country needs a negative COVID-19 test result to enter the U.S.

  • When does the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test result enter into effect?

The need for a negative COVID-19 test result to enter the U.S. starts on January 26, 2021 until further notice.

  • What kind of COVID-19 test is required?

The negative pre-departure test must be a viral test, either PCR or antigen (no antibody). The test result must state “NEGATIVE,” “SARS-CoV-2 RNA NOT DETECTED,” “SARS-CoV-2 ANTIGEN NOT DETECTED,” or “COVID-19 NOT DETECTED”. A test marked “invalid” is not acceptable.

  • When should I be taking my COVID-19 test prior to my departure?

The COVID-19 test should be done during the 3 calendar days preceding the flight’s departure from a foreign country.

  • What if I have a connecting flight?

If you have one or more connecting flight(s), your COVID-19 test should be done during the 3 calendar days preceding your initial flight’s departure, but only if: 1) the connecting flight(s) was/were booked as a single passenger record with final destination to the U.S. and 2) Each connection is no longer than 24h.

  • Do my negative COVID-19 test result need a particular form?

Paper or electronic format are both accepted. The documentation should include sufficient verification information such as personal identifiers (e.g. name and date of birth) as well as the name and contact information for the laboratory or healthcare personnel who performed the test.

  • Do children also need a COVID-19 negative test result?

Yes, unless under 2 years old.

  • What if I had COVID-19 already?

If you had COVID-19 and recovered from it, you instead need to travel with: 1) A written or electronic documentation of a positive viral test result that confirms previous COVID-19 infection and 2) A letter from a licensed health care provider or public health official stating that you have been cleared for travel (“Documentation of Recovery”¹).

¹- Health care providers and public health officials should follow CDC guidance in clearing patients for travel to the U.S. Visit

Thanks to Isabelle Marcus CEO of Columbus Consulting Group and her collaborator Clara Bergnier for these details about the requirement for negative test pre-departure entering the US.

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