Pre-entry requirements for the USA
Most fully vaccinated foreign travellers can now enter the USA. The USA accepts the NHS proof of vaccination.
As before the pandemic, you should also check additional requirements such as passport validity, ESTA application and/or visa requirements.
You will need to fill out an attestation form. The airline should provide and collect the passenger attestation on behalf of the USA Government prior to boarding.
All travellers, including those that are fully vaccinated, need to take a Covid-19 test no less than 1 day before departure (it is 1 day and not 24 hours, so for example, if you are departing on a Friday evening you can take the test at any point on the Thursday). The test can be either a PCR or an antigen test, and must be taken OR supervised by a healthcare professional.
Since the timing of the test prior to departure is relatively short, an antigen test is likely to the best option for you. The easiest and cheapest option is a home supervised antigen test, also known as a telehealth test, e-consultation test, or telemed test.
Are there any specific rules for the entry test to the USA?
The full rules for the entry test are available on the CDC website. Included on this site are the conditions which state that a home test must meet the following criteria:
a) CDC criteria: It must be a viral test authorised by the FDC or the national authority where the test is administered.
CTN tip: If travelling from the UK, make sure that you select a provider which is listed on the GOV.UK list of general population of COVID-19 testing providers. This is a list of 1,000+ providers who have declared they have met the UK Government’s minimum standards to provide Covid testing services. At CTN we provide a travel testing comparison site to help you easily find the right test for you at the right price.
b) CDC criteria: The testing procedure must include a telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test that provides real-time supervision remotely through an audio and video connection.
CTN tip: We are aware of several UK testing providers which do NOT provide real-time supervision. Instead, they request a recorded video of the test being undertaken or a photo to be upload. Based on our understanding CDC criteria this method of testing is NOT valid for entry to the USA. By using the CTN travel testing comparison site, when selecting a “supervised home-test” we only list providers that offer real-time supervision.
What are the entry test rules for children?
Children under 18 are exempt from the vaccination requirement for travel to the USA. However, all children aged between 2 and 17 are still required to take a pre-departure test.
Do you recommend any providers who meet the requirements?
The CTN Comparison Site offers a way of finding trusted and verified providers who fulfil the requirements for entry into the USA. It lists a providers satisfaction score and the price a provider charges.
Below are two examples of providers offering a Supervised Home Test to the USA (prices/scores correct at time of writing):
Discount code: CTNHQ30
Discount code: CTN10
Post-entry guidance for the USA
You do not need to quarantine after arriving in the USA, but it is recommended that you take a test 3 to 5 days after arriving. You can get this test from a USA-based provider (here is a list of USA-based local clinics) or you can bring your own test from a UK provider, like the one we have linked here.
Please note that some USA states might have different quarantine requirements, so be sure to check those too before you travel.
What if I have recently recovered from Covid-19?
Travellers who have recovered from Covid-19 in the 90 days prior to travelling to the USA are exempt from the pre-arrival testing requirement if they can provide the positive test (no older than 90 days) and a certificate from a healthcare professional confirming they are cleared to travel.
Once in the USA, recently recovered travellers do not have to take the recommended test 3 to 5 days after arrival.
Written by Isabel Barrios Pérez-Coca
Published on 26/01/2022
Isabel is a Data and Research Specialist and is involved in the operation, research, data management and logistics of running the website.
The information within this article is accurate at the time of publishing.
Information about testing requirements, entry requirements to the UK and travelling abroad during Covid-19 is CTN’s understanding of the requirements from multiple sources including the UK Government website at the time of publishing - always check full requirements including mandatory documentation and quarantine rules before you travel! By using our site, you confirm that you accept our user terms and conditions and you agree to comply with them. We amend these terms from time to time. Every time you wish to use our site, please check these terms to ensure you understand the terms that apply at that time.