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U.S. Now Requires All UK Travelers to Provide Negative Test Result

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The United States is now requiring all incoming travelers from the United Kingdom to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result to be eligible for entry. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order on December 25, 2020 in which all air passengers arriving to the US from the United Kingdom will require proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

The order officially came into effect on December 27th.

traveler mask airport

The announcement comes as the development of a new COVID-19 variant which was first reported in the UK is beginning to spread to other countries.

At this point in time, the US has not detected a case of the UK variant of the coronavirus. 

While experts do not believe that there is any evidence to support that the new strain of the virus is any more harmful or severe than the one currently circulating in the US, it is considered to be much more transmissible. 

UK masks police

The CDC website notes of the UK COVID-19 variant:

“Preliminary analysis in the UK suggests that the discovered variant may be more transmissible than previously circulating variants, with an estimated potential to increase the transmissibility of the virus by up to 70%.”

Though the US is now officially requiring negative COVID-19 test results from UK travelers, some US airline carriers had already implemented this requirement. 

American Airlines planes runway DFW Airport texas

CDC Requirements

The CDC will require all incoming passengers from the UK to be tested no more than three days before their flight.

Travelers must take a viral test which must be either a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) or antigen test. 

Test results must be received prior to the flight departure and documentation must be provided to the airlines for confirmation.

Any passenger which fails to produce documentation or refuses to take the test will be refused boarding by the airlines.

The documentation which will be required is a written verifiable laboratory test result in a paper or digital copy.

The results must include identification of the traveler, a specification collection date of the sample, the type of test taken and a negative test result.

Any traveler which tests positive for the virus will be instructed to self-isolate and rebook their flight to a later date in which they can obtain a negative test result. 

new pre flight testing at heathrow

Travelers that simply have a layover in the UK for less than 24 hours will not be required to take a test. Travelers who have a layover to their trip to the US, but their travel originates in the UK, will be required to take the test.

The CDC is further advising travelers to self-quarantine for seven days after travel and get tested three to five days after travel, though this is not mandatory.

The CDC recommends travelers to stay home for a full 10 days after travel should they choose not to get tested.

uk traveler in mask

In March of this year, President Trump had issued a presidential proclamation barring the entry of foreign nationals into the US who had visited the UK in the previous 14 days, which is still in effect. 

Citizens, lawful permanent residents and other exceptions are still permissible for entry. Subsequently, the new CDC testing requirement will only apply to those eligible for entry under the proclamation.

The CDC notes that since the issuance of the presidential proclamation, air travel from the UK to the US has gone down by 90%.

American Airlines Plane

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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


Tuesday 29th of December 2020

Hi, I would like to know about the lifting of the Ban on passengers from Europe to the USA. This ban has been in place in March and doesn't seem likely to be lifted anytime soon and very little communication has been made available regarding it

Kashlee Kucheran

Tuesday 29th of December 2020

There is no new information about when/how this will happen


Tuesday 29th of December 2020

As one of your many international readers, I would love to read some insight about then the entry ban from the EU might be lifted. ny chance you might cover this in the near future? Thanks!

Kashlee Kucheran

Tuesday 29th of December 2020

Hi Daniel! Yes, we will be covering this in detail once we know any information, but it seems that is the last thing on the current agenda. We don't suspect it to come for some months still