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Requirements for Air Travelers to the United States
17 MINUTE READ
June 13, 2022

Updated August 5, 2022

COVID-19 Testing Order Rescinded

On June 12, 2022, the CDC rescinded the order requiring travelers to present a negative COVID test prior to boarding a flight to the United States. Air passengers no longer need to get tested and present a negative COVID-19 test result, nor show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 prior to boarding a flight to the United States. The CDC’s order requiring proof of vaccination for noncitizen nonimmigrants to travel to the United States is still in effect.  For more information, see Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers. 

Do NOT travel if you are experiencing COVID symptoms or recently tested positive.  The CDC recommends you do not travel until a full 10 days after you first experienced symptoms or tested positive. Airlines have the right to deny boarding to any passenger who recently tested COVID positive or exhibiting COVID symptoms. For the safety of yourself and your fellow passengers, the CDC recommends you take a COVID test before and after any travel. 

If you have questions about your eligibility to travel, please contact your airline. The U.S. Embassy cannot intervene in the decisions of airline staff or immigration officials, nor can we give you permission to board.

 

COVID-19 VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS FOR TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES

All non-US citizen adults (18 and up) traveling to the United States on a Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV) or ESTA (Visa Waiver Program) are required to be fully vaccinated* against COVID-19 and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to the United States.  

The new travel policy  rescinds the previous Schengen Travel restrictions. The National Interest Program (NIE) has ended — NIEs are no longer required to travel, and all previously issued NIEs are now invalid. Please review the CDC webpage  and White House  announcement of November 8, 2021, for details.

Click here for information on accepted COVID-19 vaccines and acceptable proof. 

Your proof of full vaccination* may be either a paper record or via a digital app. The documents must be issued from an official source and include the traveler’s full name plus at least one other identifier such as date of birth or passport, the vaccine product and date(s) of vaccination.

*Note: You are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks (14 days) after your dose of an accepted single-dose vaccine; or
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after your second dose of an accepted 2-dose series; or
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after you received the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine (not placebo) in a clinical trial; or
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after you received the full series of a Novavax (or Covovax) COVID-19 vaccine (not placebo) in a phase 3 clinical trial; or
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after you received 2 doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines  administered at least 17 days apart*

If you don’t meet these requirements, you are NOT considered fully vaccinated.

Click here for information on accepted COVID-19 vaccines and acceptable proof. 

 

Exceptions

Exceptions to the vaccination requirement are very limited, including:

  • Children under 18
  • People medically unable to receive a vaccine
  • Emergency travelers who do not have timely access to a vaccine

There are NO family-based exceptions for foreign spouses or adult children of U.S. citizens.

There are NO exceptions on religious or moral convictions.

A detailed list of exceptions can be found on the CDC website, Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Travelers. 

 

How to Request an Exception to Vaccine Requirements

Visit the CDC website , scroll down to “Exceptions,” and click on “Do I qualify for an exception or can I apply for an exception to the vaccine requirement?” Review the categories carefully.

For all categories EXCEPT “Humanitarian or Emergency Exception,” you must request an exception from airline staff upon check-in.  Go directly to the airport at least three hours early, and bring all supporting documentation such as medical records documenting medical contraindications to being vaccinated, etc. Please note: The U.S. Embassy has NO AUTHORITY to intervene in or override the decisions of airline personnel or immigration officials.

If you are requesting an exception under the “Humanitarian or Emergency Exception” category, follow these steps:

  1. Go to this CDC website,  scroll down and click on, “How do I apply for a humanitarian or emergency exception to the requirement for noncitizen nonimmigrants to show a pre-departure proof of COVID-19 Vaccination?” Collect all the requested information and supporting documentation.
  2. Send an email to ConsulateVienna@state.gov with the subject line, “CDC EXCEPTION REQUEST mm-dd-yyyy,” with your planned travel date. Your email must be in English and contain ALL the information requested on the CDC website. INCOMPLETE REQUESTS WILL NOT BE PROCESSED!
  3. U.S. Embassy Vienna will forward your request to the CDC for consideration.  We will forward the CDC decision to you by email.

NOTE: U.S. Embassies and Consulates have no role in the decision process. We cannot answer any questions about your qualifications for an exception, or provide estimated timelines for responses, nor can we intervene in the decisions of CDC officials.

 

Additional Information and Resources

The CDC recommends that you do not travel internationally until you are fully vaccinated. International travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers might be at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading some COVID-19 variants. Delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

If you do travel, follow all CDC recommendations before, during, and after travel.

Before traveling, ensure you have adequate health and travel insurance, to include air medical evacuation (medevac) coverage. Most health insurance policies and U.S. Medicare/Medicaid do not provide coverage abroad. U.S. Embassies and Consulates do not provide medical care, lodging, or financial assistance if you must quarantine or require hospitalization.

 

Travel policy sources: