What COVID-19 Test Do I Need to Travel to the USA?
Clothes? Check. Toothbrush? Check. Visa? Check. COVID-19 negative result? Oh, no! Thankfully, you can visit the nearest medical institution and get tested; you will get the results within a few hours. But do you need to get tested before travelling to the United States? If so, then what COVID test do I need to travel to the USA, you may wonder. Which tests does the US government consider authentic? Additionally, what other requirements do you need to know about before heading there? We’ve got you covered!
Do You Need to Take a COVID-19 Test?
According to the most recent travel rules and regulations of the USA, fully vaccinated individuals from the UK do not need to show their test results. It doesn’t matter if you are a citizen or not. And the US government recognizes almost every registered coronavirus vaccine in the market, from Pfizer to Covishield. The problem arises if you haven’t been vaccinated at all yet.
Non-vaccinated, non-US citizens simply won’t be allowed to board a flight to the US from the UK. Vaccination proof is one of the major USA travel requirements right now. However, if you are a non-vaccinated US citizen, then you could board the flight, but you would need to take the COVID test after landing while also quarantining yourself till the results arrive.
Non-vaccinated, non-US citizens may be allowed to board the flight if they fall under the list of exceptions. For instance, all children below the age of 18 do not need to show any vaccination proof. Non-vaccinated adults may also enter, but only if they are either on official government business, members of the US Armed Forces, volunteers of vaccine trials, or other emergency exceptions.
Why Is Testing for Coronavirus Important for Travellers to the USA?
Ideally, even if you are not vaccinated yet, you don’t need to get tested before boarding the flight to the US from the UK. But you are required to take the test soon after (within 3-5 days) landing in the country. Nonetheless, it is always better to travel prepared; carry your COVID test results along, even if you’re vaccinated. Here’s why!
COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving virus. It may not be as active today, but you never know how potent it may become tomorrow. And as you may have experienced, coronavirus-related laws can change overnight. Imagine you are travelling from London to New York. When you board the flight, the New York entry requirements may not have any testing certificate prerequisites. But what if the cases in the city become severe and the laws are changed by the time you land in about eight hours?
The authorities in New York may provide some leeway for passengers already in the air when the changes were announced, but why take the chance? Especially when you can easily get tested in your house at your convenience and order the kind of test you want. For instance, you can order a nose-only lateral flow test if you want a safe testing environment. Thus, while it may not be necessary to test for COVID-19 while travelling to the US, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared, and it is certainly convenient.
What COVID Test Do You Need to Travel to the USA?
Again, at this point in time, you don’t NEED any coronavirus-related tests, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. The US government recognizes almost every accredited test for COVID-19. However, the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) is the most commonly used test for travelling purposes since it shows whether you’re infected right at the moment of taking the test.
On the other hand, you may not wish to hurry with the procedure. The US recognizes many other forms of home testing kits, too, like the flowflex rapid test, which is not only convenient but also amazingly accurate. And since the results are generated in about 15 minutes, you can take the test right before leaving the airport!
Best COVID Tests for International Travel
As you might know, there are three kinds of COVID tests. The most popular one is the antigen test - less accurate but delivers results quickly. The molecular test is the most accurate one of the lot, but it may take a day or two for the results to arrive. The third one is the antibody test which is generally used to determine if you’ve had COVID in the past. You can take any of the first two tests since the US entry requirements allow both. But if you must know, then travellers prefer the antigen test mostly for its quickness because you can often get the result within an hour!
Do You Need to Get Tested if You’re Fully Vaccinated?
It is not required for you to test for COVID-19 if you’re fully vaccinated. However, did you know that quite a few people prefer to get tested every time they travel overseas? You don’t want to end up getting sick during the flight after all! Also, you may never know when the laws may change since SARS-CoV-2 is such a volatile and easily adaptable virus. Hence, we recommend that you conduct at least a basic home test, with something like the healgen testing kits, before heading to the airport. After landing, at checkout, keep both your vaccination certificate and test result at hand; the authorities may just ask for those.