COVID home tests now accepted for international flights to US, CDC says

It just got a little easier to fly to the U.S. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that home tests will now satisfy the COVID-19 test requirement for passengers boarding international flights to the U.S. 

The CDC announced in January that all passengers ages 2 and older must present a negative coronavirus test taken no more than three days before their flight or proof they recovered from the virus within the past three months. Those who don’t will be denied boarding.

In its updated FAQ about the requirement, the CDC said a home test must be a SARS-CoV-2 viral test, either NAAT or antigen, that has emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. 

And a telehealth service associated with the test manufacturer must supervise the test remotely and issue a detailed report that confirms the negative test result and person’s identity. 

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Trade group Airlines for America applauded the news. “This is an encouraging step in facilitating the international travel process, while continuing to prioritize the safety and well-being of all travelers and employees seeking entry to the U.S.,” the organization said in a statement.

But travelers from the U.S. who are going abroad need to check travel information for their destination before packing a test to use on the way home. The CDC noted that some countries may restrict importing tests that aren’t authorized or registered there. 

In early April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the green light for fully vaccinated Americans to travel at low risk but noted that international travel poses additional risks, including possibly spreading new COVID-19 variants. The agency and the U.S. State Department still have many countries at their highest alert level due to COVID-19. 

Contributing: Dawn Gilbertson

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