U.S. to Drop COVID-19 Testing Requirement for Travelers Entering the Country

The new rule will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday.

Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration dropped COVID-19 testing requirements for travelers entering the country over the weekend, eliminating the testing rule that has been in place for more than a year.

The new rule went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The decision follows lobbying by the travel industry, including airlines, who pressured the administration to drop testing rules. It also comes on the heels of several other countries eliminating pandemic-era entry restrictions.

The White House first introduced a testing rule in January 2021, requiring people to get tested within three days of an international flight. That was then shortened to one day in December amid the emergence of the omicron variant. U.S. travelers who arrived in the country by land were never required to show proof of a negative test at land border crossings to enter.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in the order the decision to drop pre-departure testing requirements was made after the agency "determined that it is not currently necessary" due to the availability of vaccines and therapeutics.

The CDC will review the decision in 90 days, Reuters reported.

While the U.S. is no longer requiring a test to enter, the CDC still recommends travelers get tested "as close to the time of departure as possible."

The U.S. now joins several countries around the world that have dropped pre-departure testing and other COVID-19-related travel restrictions, including Italy, which lifted all pandemic-era travel rules earlier this month. The United Kingdom, Sweden, Iceland, Ireland, and Croatia have also dropped all COVID-19-related rules, while Canada has eliminated pre-arrival testing for vaccinated travelers.

Roger Dow, the president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, told Travel + Leisure the inbound testing requirement has been a deterrent for some international travelers.

"Today marks another huge step forward for the recovery of inbound air travel and the return of international travel to the United States," Dow said in a statement provided to T L. "The Biden administration is to be commended for this action, which will welcome back visitors from around the world and accelerate the recovery of the U.S. travel industry.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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