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CDC Approves Self-Testing Kits for International Travelers

A simplified COVID-19 testing protocol has been approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in response to a general aviation (GA) coalition request. 

The coalition, comprised of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), sent a letter to the CDC stating, “The need for pre-flight COVID-19 testing protocols is becoming more critical as travel continues to increase worldwide.  However, current international protocols are burdensome, time consuming, and have inherent limitations in processing large numbers of travelers.” 

International passengers are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to boarding an aircraft destined to the U. S., and the test must come from an authorized testing center and laboratory. 

Although it may not be a perfect solution for all passengers, the CDC has issued new guidance to allow for self-tests or home tests that can be brought to the airport with them the day of departure.  The testing procedure must include a telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test that provides real-time supervision remotely through an audio and video connection. 

The CDC advises that some countries may restrict importation of unauthorized or unregistered self-tests, and travelers who are bringing a U. S. authorized test with them should first contact authorities at their destination for information before they travel.

“Short-notice, on-site testing has the potential to be a significant aid in ensuring all passengers are appropriately tested for international flights,” the coalition said, and it will continue to work with the CDC on effective compliance with international testing requirements on behalf of the GA industry.