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U.S. Will Require Quarantine For All International Arrivals

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The United States will require all international passengers to quarantine upon arrival. Additional changes are coming soon for entry into the U.S. including a mandatory quarantine for all international arrivals including Americans returning home. 

The new quarantine order will be in conjunction with the new testing requirement that is coming into effect on January 26, 2021, not an alternative.

President Biden tweeted “Today, I announced my COVID-19 National Action Plan. We're mounting an aggressive, coordinated, equitable, and professional response to get the virus under control as soon as possible.”

passport mail in only

Included in the action plan are executive orders that will mandate new quarantine rules for all arrivals by air, as well as making face masks on flights and all types of public transportation federal law.  

older couple airport masks

The length of time for the compulsory quarantine is still being determined by a joint task force made up of recommendations by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Transportation Safety Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Update since publishing

The White House released the official order a few hours after Biden's press conference. The order states:

“It is the policy of my Administration that, to the extent feasible, travelers seeking to enter the United States from a foreign country shall be: 

(i)   required to produce proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test prior to entry; and 

(ii)  required to comply with other applicable CDC guidelines concerning international travel, including recommended periods of self-quarantine or self-isolation after entry into the United States.”

The CDC is recommending that quarantine periods should be 10 days without testing, and as short as 7 days with a ‘test to release' type of program.

Many individual states have been free to make their own rules around quarantines, until now. States including Hawaii, New York and California have already been requiring a 10-day quarantine for travelers, while other states like Alaska, New Mexico and Oregon have stuck with the full 14-days.

However, half of the U.S. – over 25 states in total – currently have no quarantine in place for returning travelers, and will be most affected by Biden’s executive order.

While the order targets arrivals by air, similar recommendations are expected to come into place for arrivals by both land and sea.

canada usa border - no PCR test needed to cross

American travelers have just been familiarizing themselves with the CDC’s recent implementation of COVID-19 testing requirements for all international arrivals by air.

Coming into effect on January 26, 2021, proof of a negative covid test is mandatory upon all travelers over the age of two, arriving to the US on international flights, including returning US citizens and residents as well a foreign arrivals.

PCR nasal swab test

The test must be performed with results available within 72 hours of arrival into the USA. Both PCR and rapid antigen type tests are accepted.

Even after fulfilling the pre-flight testing requirement, arrivals into the USA will also have a quarantine to complete. It is unknown at this time if a ‘test to release’ program will also come into effect that would allow those in quarantine to take a test, upon which the negative results will release them from isolation early.

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


Saturday 6th of February 2021

My port of arrival is Miami, but live in Ft Worth. Does this mean I must stay in Miami for a quarentine?


Sunday 24th of January 2021

Is a required negative test in order to board a flight?

Kashlee Kucheran

Monday 25th of January 2021

To board the flight to the USA? Yes To board a flight within the USA domestically, No.

Valerie Bridges

Sunday 24th of January 2021

How does the US plan to enforce the post travel quarantine?

Remonia Culmer

Friday 22nd of January 2021

Im traveling for medical reasons from a foreign country, will there be any exceptions?


Friday 22nd of January 2021

Lets see them try to enforce their stupid quarantine LOL