Negative COVID-19 test required before traveling to US starting Jan. 26

Airline passengers must provide proof of negative test and/or recovery if they previously tested positive

Holiday travelers make their way through Orlando International Airport Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORLANDO, Fla. – International airports across the country are revealing details as to how the facilities plan to implement and enforce the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requirement that travelers test negative for the novel coronavirus prior to arrival in the U.S.

Beginning Jan. 26, all air passengers entering the U.S. will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to being admitted by U.S. Customs. Tests can be taken up to three days in advance and are required for anyone 2 years or older.

Orlando International Airport leaders said Tuesday, a week before the new rule begins, travelers should begin planning for a COVID-19 test prior to booking any air travel.

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Airlines will confirm a COVID-19 negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before boarding.

“If a passenger chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger,” the CDC said in its statement.

If someone has previously tested positive for coronavirus, they will be required to provide documentation of recovery in the form of a positive test result and a letter from a licensed health care provided or public health official stating that passenger has been cleared for travel.

“This update in international travel requirements should be considered by all travelers before they book any air travel,” Assistant Director of Airport Affairs for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Luis Olivero said in a statement. “Research should be done on the availability of testing in the country they are traveling from to ensure passengers are able to board their flight to the U.S.”

Documentation can be in the form of written documentation (paper or electronic copy) of a laboratory test result. Testing must be performed using a NAAT or antigen test, according to the CDC. The test result documentation must include information that identifies the person, a specimen collection date and the type of test.

The U.S. is the latest country to announce new travel restrictions because of a new variant of the coronavirus that is spreading in Britain and elsewhere.

Currently, airline passengers from the United Kingdom need to get negative COVID-19 tests within three days of their trip and provide the results to the airline, the CDC said in a statement. The CDC issued the latest order on Jan. 12, expanding the requirement to all international travelers.

Florida has more reported cases of the virus variant, known as B.1.1.7, than any other state in the U.S., according to the CDC.

For more details about the testing requirement, click or tap here.

About the Author:

Emilee is a digital journalist for News 6 and, where she writes about space and Central Florida news. Previously, Emilee was a space writer and web editor for the Orlando Sentinel and a producer at the Naples Daily News.