US drops testing requirement for air travellers entering country

From 12 June, international visitors will no longer be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival in the US...

4 mins

A moment many of us have been waiting for. The USA has finally lifted its requirement for travellers to present a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival, after the country makes 'tremendous progress' in the fight against the virus.

The requirement for arrivals to test three days before boarding a plane to the States has been compulsory since January 2021, with the testing tightening to 24 hours when Omicron hit at the end of the year.

But on Friday 10 June, the Biden administration announced that the need for a pre-departure PCR or rapid antigen test will be dropped from midnight on Sunday 12 June, making travel much easier and stress-free. However, international visitors are still required to present their vaccination certificate before entry to the country.

A White House official said: "We are able to take this step because of the tremendous progress we've made in our fight against the virus.

"We have made lifesaving vaccines and treatments widely available and these tools are working to prevent serious illness and death, and are effective against the prevalent variants circulating in the US and around the world."

New Orleans (Shutterstock)

New Orleans (Shutterstock)

The mandate for testing can possibly return, though. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention will reassess the measures in 90 days. If a new, unknown variant of the virus emerges, the CDC may reinforce the requirement for testing. 

But right now, this positive news comes after months of campaigning from the travel industry to end testing, due to the policy discouraging people to book holidays to the US.

US Travel Association president Roger Dow said the removal of the mandate will "accelerate the recovery of the US travel industry", while the major airline Virgin Atlantic have said they "look forward to more of our customers to enjoy frictionless Transatlantic travel this summer". 

To find travel ideas to the USA, be sure to check out our full USA travel guide.

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