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Health Alert: CDC Requirement for Negative COVID-19 Test from Air Passengers Entering the U.S. from China
December 29, 2022

Event:  On January 5, at 12:01 ET, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require a negative COVID-19 test result (taken within two days of departure) or proof of recovery from the virus (within the last 90 days) for all travelers aged two years and older to the United States on flights originating from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau.  This requirement also applies to individuals boarding a flight to the United States from Incheon International Airport, Vancouver International Airport, or Toronto Pearson International Airport who have been in the PRC, including the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong or Macau, within the past ten days.

This public health policy is due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the PRC and the risk of the emergence of a new viral variant.  Monitor the websites for the U.S. Mission China, the U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong & Macau, and the CDC’s Travel Health Information page for the latest COVID 19- travel guidance.

These requirements apply to all air passengers regardless of vaccination status or nationality.  This will also apply to persons traveling from the PRC via third country transit and to passengers connecting through the United States onward to further destinations. Passengers must show one of the following to the airline or risk being denied boarding:

  • A paper or digital copy of negative COVID-19 viral test results taken within two days of boarding. Check the CDC website for a list of authorized viral tests that meet the testing requirement, or
  • Documentation of recovery for passengers who tested positive more than 10 days and fewer than 90 days before boarding a flight to the United States.  See CDC page for details.

Only in very limited cases will an exception to these testing requirements be granted when emergency travel must occur to protect someone’s life or health from a serious threat or danger.  Contact the CDC for criteria on exceptions.

If you are uncertain whether this requirement applies to you and you have recently traveled to the PRC, including Hong Kong SAR or Macau SAR, you are encouraged to take a COVID-19 viral test within two days of boarding a flight to the United States.

Actions to Take:

  • Consult the CDC websitefor the most up-to-date information on pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements.
  • Check with your airline or travel operators regarding testing requirements including language requirements for test results or doctor’s notes, and for any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions, including potential COVID-19 vaccine or testing requirements for countries you are transiting through.
  • Be aware that foreign countries might have their own travel restrictions and COVID-19 testing, vaccine, or quarantine requirements. Please visit the Embassy/Consulate webpages for each country you are traveling to or transiting through for additional information.
  • Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for country-specific information related to COVID-19.
  • For information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, please see the CDC’s latest recommendations.
  • Visit the U.S. Embassy Beijing webpage on COVID-19 for information on conditions in The People’s Republic of China. COVID-19 Information – U.S. Embassy & Consulates in China (usembassy-china.org.cn). Visit the U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong & Macau’s webpage on Covid-19 for information on Hong Kong and Macau.