HomeUSAU.S. drops Covid testing requirement for international travelers

U.S. drops Covid testing requirement for international travelers

A man checks in at a Covid-19 testing site in the international arrivals area of Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California on December 22, 2021.

Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

The Biden administration is dropping Covid-19 testing requirements for inbound air travelers from abroad, marking an end to one of the longest-running travel restrictions of the pandemic.

The rules, put in place by the Trump administration in early 2021 and later tightened by the Biden administration, most recently required inbound travelers, including U.S. citizens, to show proof of a negative Covid test a day before boarding U.S.-bound flights. Travelers entering the U.S. at land border crossings were exempt.

The change takes effect 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

Airlines and other travel industry members had repeatedly pushed the administration for months to drop the requirement, arguing it was hurting international travel demand. The travel industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.

“The Biden administration is to be commended for this action, which will welcome back visitors from around the world and accelerate the recovery of the U.S. travel industry,” Roger Dow, president of the U.S. Travel Association said in a statement. “International inbound travel is vitally important to businesses and workers across the country who have struggled to regain losses from this valuable sector.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will reassess the decision in 90 days, according to a senior Biden administration official.

“If there is a need to reinstate a pre-departure testing requirement — including due to a new, concerning variant — CDC will not hesitate to act,” the official said.

CNBC’s Thomas Franck contributed to this article.

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