Effective January 5, 2023, air passengers boarding flights to the United States originating from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including Hong Kong and Macau, must present a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery before boarding the plane. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that the requirement also applies to passengers traveling from China who enter the United States through a third country, as well as to passengers who connect through the United States to other destinations. Further, the requirement applies to passengers transiting from Incheon International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport on their way to the United States, if they have been in the PRC in the last 10 days. According to the CDC, these three transit hubs cover the overwhelming majority of passengers with travel originating in the PRC.
The CDC’s new requirement applies to all air passengers age two or older, regardless of nationality or vaccination status. To comply, passengers must present one of the following to the airline before boarding the plane:
- The negative result of a PCR test or an antigen self-test taken no more than two days before their departure to the United States. The test must be administered and monitored by a telehealth service or a licensed provider and authorized by the Food and Drug Administration or the relevant national authority. A list of authorized tests is available here: At-Home OTC COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests | FDA.
- Documentation of recovery from COVID-19, if the passenger tested positive more than 10 days before the flight.
The CDC announced that this requirement is intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the United States during the current surge in cases in the PRC. The agency indicates that it will continue to monitor travel patterns and adjust its approach as needed.