International Travelers

Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. COVID-19 risk in most countries is high, and travelers should avoid nonessential travel to high-risk destinations. Travelers at increased risk for severe illness should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to high-risk destinations. To check a destination’s COVID-19 risk level see COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination.

Some healthcare systems are overwhelmed and there may be limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas. Many countries are implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be disrupted. If you get sick or are exposed to a person with COVID-19 during your trip, you may be isolated or quarantined and your return to the United States may be delayed.

CDC also recommends all travelers defer all cruise ship travel worldwide.

Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. COVID-19 risk in most countries is high, and travelers should avoid nonessential travel to high-risk destinations. Travelers at increased risk for severe illness should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to high-risk destinations. To check a destination’s COVID-19 risk level see COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination.

Some healthcare systems are overwhelmed and there may be limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas. Many countries are implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be disrupted. If you get sick or are exposed to a person with COVID-19 during your trip, you may be isolated or quarantined and your return to the United States may be delayed.

CDC also recommends all travelers defer all cruise ship travel worldwide.

Yes. Layovers at airports in destinations with level 3 travel notices are included in CDC’s recommendation to avoid nonessential travel. If a layover is unavoidable, CDC recommends that travelers not leave the airport. Travelers with layovers may still be subject to screening and monitoring when entering the United States.

Many countries are implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be disrupted. If you get sick or are exposed to a person with COVID-19 during your trip, you may be isolated or quarantined and your return to the United States may be delayed.

For the most up-to-date information on travel advisories, please visit CDC’s travel advisory website and the U.S. Department of State website.

U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and their families arriving from international destinations are still allowed to enter the U.S. Beginning September 14, 2020, the United States Government  will remove requirements for directing all flights carrying passengers arriving from certain countries to land at one of 15 designated airports and halt enhanced entry health screening for these passengers. Currently, enhanced entry health screening is conducted for those arriving from, or with recent presence in, China (excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau), Iran, the Schengen region of Europe, the United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe), Ireland, and Brazil. Returning travelers should stay home for 14 days after travel and monitor their health. Additional precautions include practicing social distancing within households and when making essential trips outside of the household (e.g. to pick up food or to seek medical care).

Foreign nationals who have visited China, Iran, the European Schengen area (includes 26 European countries), the United Kingdom, Brazil, and the Republic of Ireland may not enter the United States.

For the most up-to-date information on travel advisories, please visit CDC’s travel advisory website and the U.S. Department of State website.

CDC advises that individuals returning from an international country or from travel on a cruise ship or river boat should:

  • Stay home for 14 days after arrival and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet (2 meters) from others. Do not go to school or work.  Do not take public transportation, taxis or rideshares.
  • Self-monitor for symptoms.
    • Check temperature twice a day
    • Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, shaking chills, muscle aches, headache, sore throat or new onset loss of taste or smell
  • Avoid contact with people at higher risk for severe illness (unless they live in the same home and had some exposure).
  • Wear a mask around others.
  • Follow this guidance if symptoms develop: See Illness from COVID-19
  • Additional precautions include practicing social distancing within households and when making essential trips outside of the household (e.g. to pick up food or to seek medical care).

Beginning September 14, 2020, the United States Government will remove requirements for directing all flights carrying passengers arriving from certain countries to land at one of 15 designated airports and halt enhanced entry health screening for these passengers Currently, enhanced entry health screening is conducted for those arriving from, or with recent presence in, China (excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau), Iran, the Schengen region of Europe, the United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe), Ireland, and Brazil. The United States Government resources will be dedicated to more effective mitigation efforts that focus on the individual passenger which include:

  • Pre-departure, in-flight, and post-arrival health education for passengers.
  • Robust illness response at airports.
  • Voluntary collection of contact information from passengers using electronic means to avoid long lines, crowding and delays associated with manual data collection.
  • Potential testing to reduce the risk of travel-related transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 and movement of the virus from one location to another.
  • Country-specific risk assessments to assist passengers in making informed decisions about travel-related risk.
  • Enhancing training and education of partners in the transportation sector and at United States ports of entry to ensure recognition of illness and immediate notification to CDC.
  • Post-arrival passenger recommendations for self-monitoring and precautions to protect others, with enhanced precautions, including staying home to the extent possible for 14 days for people arriving from high-risk destinations. You can check the levels for places traveled, including countries, S. states and territories, counties, and cities.

 

Some types of travel and activities are higher risk for exposure to COVID-19 (see list below).  If your family member participated in higher risk activities or may have been exposed before or during their trip, they should take extra precautions to protect others for 14 days after arrival:

  1. Stay home as much as possible.
  1. Avoid being around people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  1. Consider getting tested for COVID-19.

Here are examples of activities and situations that can increase travel related risk of exposure to COVID-19:

  • Being in an area that is experiencing high levels of COVID-19 spread. You can check the levels for places traveled, including countries, U.S.. states and territories, counties, and cities.
  • Going to a large social gathering like a wedding, funeral, or party.
  • Attending a mass gathering like a sporting event, concert, or parade.
  • Being in crowds – for example, in restaurants, bars, airports, bus and train stations, or movie theaters.

Traveling on a cruise ship or river boat.

See “Illness from COVID-19”  

Most travelers can go back to work but should take precautions. Some travelers may have higher risk of exposure and should stay home for 14 days.

See CDC’s After Travel webpage to learn what precautions you should take.

See VDH’s Travelers site for more information.

It is very important that people with even mild signs of illness (fever, cough, chills, shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat) stay home to prevent spreading illness to others!

CDC currently recommends that travelers defer all cruise travel worldwide. The risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships is high. People with an increased risk of serious illness should especially defer travel on cruise ships, including river cruises. CDC has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for cruise ship travel. Cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on several cruise ships.

If a person does travel on a cruise, they should stay home for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, avoid contact with people at higher risk for severe illness, and practice social distancing.

For additional information, see COVID-19 and Cruise Ship Travel, Travelers Returning from Cruise Ship and River Cruise Voyages.

Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on airplanes. Although the risk of infection on an airplane is low, travelers should try to avoid contact with sick passengers and wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol.

Under current federal regulations, pilots must report to CDC all illnesses and deaths before arriving in the United States. If a sick traveler is considered to be a public health risk, CDC works with local and state health departments and international public health agencies to contact passengers and crew exposed to that sick traveler—according to CDC disease protocols. Be sure to give the airline your current contact information when booking your ticket.

CDC recommends that people wear a mask to cover their nose and mouth while in a community setting. This is to protect people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms. Air travel often requires spending time in security lines and busy airport terminals. Travel by bus, train, and other conveyances used for international, interstate, or intrastate transportation poses similar challenges. People may not be able to distance themselves by the recommended at least 6 feet from individuals seated nearby or those standing in or passing through the aisles on airplanes, trains, or buses. All individuals aged five and older should cover their mouth and nose with a mask. Masks should not be placed on young children younger than 2 years of age, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance. Additionally, you should:

  • Avoid all non-essential travel.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning product.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol.
  • Those with underlying risk factors for serious illness should consult with their healthcare provider.

VDH Recommendations Regarding Masks

 

Page last updated: November 17, 2020