On his first full day in office, President Joe Biden has announced more requirements for travelers to the U.S. Aside from providing negative COVID-19 test results before boarding, all travelers coming from abroad—U.S. citizens and permanent residents included—will have to follow CDC recommendations and quarantine after international travel for 10 days upon arrival. The executive order expands on the previous administration’s pre-testing policy, set to go into effect on January 26.
Anyone traveling to the States by plane “will need to test before they get onto that plane before they depart and quarantine when they arrive in America,” the president said in a press conference. The official details around the quarantine after international travel—including when it will go into effect—are under review by a number of federal agencies that deal with air travel and public health.
In the next two weeks, that pre-testing policy will also be under review by Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration, and CDC leadership. President Biden has asked the HHS and Homeland Security secretaries to take “appropriate regulatory action” as necessary, like restricting which types of COVID-19 tests are accepted, adjusting how travelers provide proof of negative results, and offering additional options for those who don’t have access to testing in the country they’re traveling from, the order states. The review would also address “COVID-19 vaccination, follow-up testing and symptom-monitoring, air filtration requirements, environmental decontamination standards, and contact tracing” for travelers, the executive order said.
Under the previous administration’s plan, airlines are responsible for collecting and verifying test results. That could change, as during the review period, President Biden is asking the federal agencies involved to “identify agencies’ tools and mechanisms to assist travelers in complying with such policy,” hopefully formalizing the policy past the boarding process.
The executive order also asks federal agencies to consider what a vaccination certificate process—like the vaccination paperwork (called an ICVP) used for yellow fever—would look like during this pandemic. Updates from the agencies will come within the next week.
This is a developing story and will be updated with more information. We’re reporting on how COVID-19 impacts travel on a daily basis. Find our latest coronavirus coverage here, or visit our complete guide to COVID-19 and travel.