Since January 2021, the U.S. has required pre-departure negative Covid test results from those flying into the country, but that will soon change.At 12:01 a.m. EDT on June 12, this mandate will expire, the result of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deeming it as no longer being necessary.
Previously, all travelers, including U.S. citizens and including those who have been vaccinated, had to present a negative test result from within a day of travel in order to be allowed onto their flight and into the country. In addition, non-U.S. citizens had to be fully vaccinated in nearly all cases.
This requirement may be reinstated in the future if a new variant causes it to be necessary. A reevaluation of this policy will take place every 90 days, regardless.
Many have been pushing for this change as international air travel has remained down. U.S.-based travelers have been hesitant to leave the country and be stranded for an extensive period of time abroad if they test positive while foreign-based travelers often simply do not want to go through the testing process.
Presumably as a result of these concerns, these types of trips were down 24% in May compared to what they were in 2019, according to Airlines for America. Meanwhile, domestic air travel within the U.S. has almost fully recovered to 2019 levels.
The CDC does, however, recommend that all air travel, domestic and international, is preceded by the taking of a Covid test.
This dropping of a testing requirement for U.S.-bound passengers comes two months after mask-wearing was no longer required on U.S. flights, thanks to a federal judge saying that the CDC had gone beyond its authority in requiring them. This decision has been appealed with the intent to protect the CDC’s authority in similar situations in the future.