All international travelers flying into the U.S. must still show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, despite the fact that many other countries have relaxed this requirement. The travel industry has argued that the requirement is hurting the economy and is no longer needed. Finally, weary travelers have an answer on when the U.S will lift the negative COVID test requirement for international travelers.
On May 31, leaders from the U.S. Travel Association and Airlines for America met with White House officials to ask the Biden administration to end the pre-departure testing requirements for inbound vaccinated air travelers. It seems the President heard their arguments because the requirement, which is set to expire at midnight on June 12, won't be renewed.
After midnight on June 12, travelers entering the U.S. won't need to present a negative COVID test.
CDC officials have reportedly determined that the widespread adoption of vaccines and the availability of better therapies have lessened the risks associated with contracting and spreading COVID-19.
That said, The New York Times reports the health organization will re-evaluate in 90 days, warning the requirement would be reinstated if a new variant emerges.
“It is long past time for the Biden administration to remove the pre-departure testing requirement for vaccinated air travelers to the U.S.,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow in a statement last month. “While nearly all other U.S. industries are operating without restrictions, the travel industry remains disproportionately harmed by this requirement, even though the science no longer supports it.”
The negative tests aren’t required for anyone entering the U.S. by land from Canada and Mexico, Dow argues. Keeping the testing requirements in place puts the U.S. at a “serious competitive disadvantage” with other countries that have removed such requirements and reopened their borders to tourism, Dow said.
Some travelers said the U.S. testing requirements made them reluctant to travel there.
In a survey of vaccinated international travelers in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, and India, over half said the pre-departure testing requirements would negatively impact the likelihood of them visiting the U.S., the association reports.
Also, many U.S. citizens haven't been traveling internationally because of the pre-departure testing requirements to return home. Besides requiring international citizens visiting the U.S. to show negative test results, U.S. citizens returning from foreign destinations must also show negative test results. Some fear that they’ll be stranded if their test comes back positive.
The testing requirements started in January 2021, when the CDC ruled that all airline passengers age two and older arriving in the U.S. had to either provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding.
The U.S. has more COVID-19 cases than any other country in the world.
The pre-departure testing requirements don’t seem to have done much to stem the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
According to Worldometers data on COVID-19, the number of total cases and deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. far surpasses any other country in the world. Even India, which ranks second, has only about half the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths compared to the U.S.