Travel and COVID Testing

Travel and COVID Testing

Travel and covid testing.

Are you going on a trip? 

Do you have your bags packed and ready to go?  Check

Is your itinerary confirmed and your seat on the plane assigned?  Check

Unplug the coffee maker?  Check

Set the house alarm?  Check

Now you are ready to go but are you forgetting something?  What about covid testing?

Many travel destinations now require a negative covid test to visit them.

Knowing which covid test you need can be very confusing.  The rules are different for every location and they change frequently.   For example, originally Jamaica required a lab-based RT-PCR covid test in order to come to their country.  But then it changed the requirements and they started accepting the rapid antigen or the PCR test for entry. The test had to be within 3 days of travel.

Hawaii on the other hand requires proof of a negative covid-19 PCR test from a state-approved trusted testing partner.  So not only must you have a negative test, you must use a lab that is approved by the state of Hawaii.

Some countries have very explicit instructions about covid testing. 

In Canada for instance You must:

  • take the test within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of your flight to Canada
    • if you have a connecting flight:
      • the test must be conducted within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of your last direct flight to Canada
      • you may need to schedule the test in your transit city
  • provide one of the accepted types of tests, not an antigen test
  • keep proof of your test results for the 14-day period that begins on the day you enter Canada

Airlines will refuse boarding to travelers who are unable to provide a valid molecular test result.

If you are driving into Canada it is a different and very complex procedure.

This update was posted on April 23, 2021 on the Canadian government website.

If you plan to travel to Mexico, you are not required to have a covid test.  However, when you return to the US you must have a negative covid test to get back into the country within 72 hours of your return.

One of the questions that comes up frequently is “What is the 3-day period?

The 3-day period is the 3 days before the flight’s departure. The Order uses a 3-day timeframe instead of 72 hours to provide more flexibility to the traveler. By using a 3-day window, test validity does not depend on the time of the flight or the time of day that the test was administered.

For example, if a passenger’s flight is at 1pm on a Friday, the passenger could board with a negative test that was taken any time on the prior Tuesday or after.

To ensure that you can travel without any issues, the best thing to do is check with your airline provider before you travel. Websites are not always reliable. Going directly to the source is the best way to make sure you have the correct covid test.

Safe travels!