Travel Alert: U.S. Embassy San Jose (26 October 2021)
Location: Costa Rica — Level 4 Do Not Travel
Event: New CDC requirements beginning November 8, 2021, that all airline passengers traveling to the United States must show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, in addition to existing requirement of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days prior to flight. Unvaccinated U.S. citizens or Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) must obtain a negative COVID-19 test one day prior to their flight to the United States. PLEASE READ ENTIRE MESSAGE.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced a new Order for all air passengers traveling to the United States. Effective November 8, 2021, U.S. citizens and LPRs who are not fully vaccinated will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within one (1) day before their flight departure. U.S citizens and LPRs who are fully vaccinated will need to present airlines with proof of vaccination and of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three (3) days before their flight. Both nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs), such as a PCR test, and antigen tests qualify. This is the same standard for qualifying tests that has applied to the pre-departure testing requirement since January 2021. Please see the CDC website for more information on being fully vaccinated.
All children between the ages of 2 and 17 are required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test. If a child is not fully vaccinated and traveling with a fully vaccinated adult, they can show proof of a negative viral test from a sample taken within three days before departure (consistent with the timeline for fully vaccinated adults). If an unvaccinated child is traveling alone or with unvaccinated adults, they will have to show proof of a negative viral test from a sample taken within one day of departure. While children under 2 years of age are exempt from the testing requirement, CDC recommends a pre-departure test for these children whenever possible.
Also, effective November 8, 2021, all nonimmigrant, non-citizen air travelers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to the United States. The current requirement of proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three (3) days before a flight will remain in place.
Exceptions to this policy will be extremely limited. Details on exceptions and waivers due to humanitarian concerns are available at Non-U.S. citizen, Non-U.S. immigrants: Air Travel to the United States | CDC.
Both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated should travel with proof of their vaccination status to provide to their airline prior to departure to the United States. That proof of vaccination should be a paper or digital record issued by an official source and should include the traveler’s name and date of birth, as well as the vaccine product and date(s) of administration for all doses the traveler received. CDC has determined that for purposes of travel to the United States, vaccines accepted will include FDA approved or authorized and World Health Organization (WHO) emergency use listed (EUL) vaccines. Please visit the CDC information Annex for more information describing what vaccines qualify people as fully vaccinated
For additional information, please visit the CDC’s FAQs, which includes answers to questions about the requirement for proof of negative COVID-19 test or recovery from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving in the United States. Additional information on these requirements can also be found on Travel.State.Gov.
U.S. Embassy San Jose
State Department – Consular Affairs