Travelers that are looking to fly abroad now need to adhere to a new set of COVID requirements before entering the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the new mandates on Tuesday as part of an effort to “slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19” before and after travel. Here’s what international travelers need to keep in mind:

Do I Need A Negative COVID Test When Leaving The U.S.?

When flying out of the U.S. to an international destination, travelers will need to produce a negative COVID-19 test before departure.

The CDC said that pre-departure testing will help to identify travelers that are infected with the coronavirus before they board a flight.

Do I Need A Negative COVID Test When Entering the U.S.?

The CDC is now requiring travelers that are returning to the U.S. to have a negative “viral test” (a test for current infection) prior to entry. The test must be administered three days before their flight departs to the U.S. and must include written documentation of their laboratory test result in paper or an electronic form.

The test results must be provided to the traveling airline prior to boarding. If documentation of a negative COVID test or COVID recovery is not provided, flight boarding will be denied by the airline.

The CDC is also recommending travelers returning to the U.S. to get tested again three to five days after arrival.

Do I Need To Quarantine?

While quarantining after arriving home into the U.S. is not required by the CDC, it does recommend that travelers stay home for seven days post-travel.

Travelers, however, may be required to quarantine upon arriving at their international destination, depending on the requirements in that country. Be sure to check the COVID mandates in each travel location.

When Do The New Travel Restrictions Take Effect?

The new CDC COVID-19 test requirements for international travel takes effect on Jan. 26.

Why Did The International Travel Requirements Change?

The CDC has said that change in travel requirements is “consistent with the current phase of the pandemic and more efficiently protects the health of Americans.”

As new strains of COVID-19 begin to emerge in countries around the world, the transmission of these variants is showing evidence to increase, the agency said. The CDC is working to slow the spread of the virus as it continues to vaccinate the public. To date, the agency said it has administered 9.3 million doses of the COVID vaccine.

Despite the decision to implement the testing requirement for international travel, CDC Director Robert R. Redfield said in a statement that it “does not eliminate all risk.”

But, he added, “When combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations.”

Top US scientist Anthony Fauci voiced his fears for a virus surge as millions of travelers returned home after the Thanksgiving holiday
Top US scientist Anthony Fauci voiced his fears for a virus surge as millions of travelers returned home after the Thanksgiving holiday AFPTV / Derek HENKLE