Travelers

Quick references for travel recommendations and requirements

Refer to CDC’s additional reference with requirements for travelers flying to the United States (U.S.) from a foreign country.

COVID-19 is still spreading within Virginia, across the U.S., and in other countries. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) urges Virginians who are not fully vaccinated to avoid travel, especially if they are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 or if they will be visiting someone at higher risk of serious COVID-19. Travelers who are fully vaccinated are less likely to get or spread COVID-19 while traveling, but international travelers should still follow additional precautions listed below. All travelers should consider the risks for getting or spreading COVID-19 and follow recommendations and requirements at their destination.

Travelers Prohibited from Entry to the United States

  • On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified a new variant, B.1.1.529, as a variant of concern (VOC) and has named it Omicron. 
  • No cases of this variant have been reported in the U.S. to date. CDC is learning more about this variant, and will continue to monitor it.
  • To slow the introduction of this new Omicron variant into the U.S., a Presidential Proclamation has been issued, restricting entry of certain international travelers into the U.S.:
    • Effective November 29, 2021, with specific exceptions, this Presidential Proclamation suspends the entry into the U.S., as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of noncitizens who were physically present within the following countries during the 14-day period before their entry or attempted entry into the United States. For a full list of exceptions, please refer to the Proclamation.
      • Botswana
      • Eswatini
      • Lesotho
      • Malawi
      • Mozambique
      • Namibia
      • South Africa
      • Zimbabwe

As per the Proclamation, citizens and lawful permanent residents of the U. S., certain family members, and other individuals who meet specified exceptions, who have been in one of the countries listed above in the past 14 days will be allowed to enter the U.S.

Travel-related requirements in Virginia

  • Current travel requirements for air passengers boarding flights to the United States from a foreign country are as follows:
    • Non-U.S. citizen, nonimmigrants who are aged 18 years or older are required to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination status. CDC provides a list of limited exceptions to this requirement. 
    • Testing requirement for all air travelers
      • Fully vaccinated air travelers, regardless of citizenship, are required to show proof of vaccination and a pre-departure negative test taken no more than 3 days before travel to the U.S.
      • Passengers who are not fully vaccinated are required to show a pre-departure negative test taken no more than 1 day before departure for the U.S.
      • Children under age 2 years are not required to be tested. People who are able to present proof of documented recovery from COVID-19 in the past 90 days, also do not need to get tested before travel. More information is available on the CDC website
    • All passengers will be required to provide contact information to the airline before departure to improve ability to rapidly contact people in the U.S. who may have been exposed to an infectious disease, such as COVID-19. Additional details are available on CDC’s International Travel website.
  • VDH strongly recommends that travelers who are not fully vaccinated quarantine (stay home) after domestic or international travel. 
  • All travelers aged 2 years and older are required to wear face masks while on public transportation in the U.S., including Virginia (e.g., planes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses (including school buses), taxis, rideshares) and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs, such as airports, bus and train stations. 
    • Travelers are not required to wear masks in outdoor areas of a transportation conveyance or transportation hub, but masks are still recommended in these areas for travelers who are not fully vaccinated. If fully vaccinated, VDH recommends travelers follow CDC guidance.
    • This requirement applies to passengers, transportation operators (e.g., crew, drivers, conductors, and other workers involved in public transportation), and operators of transportation hubs. 
  • In Virginia, fully vaccinated people should wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial to high transmission. This means you are in a place where the spread of COVID-19 is happening more often. Check COVID-19 Level of Community Transmission dashboard to see if you are traveling to, or are in one of those areas. 
  •  Fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks in most outdoor settings.
  •  Any person aged 2 years or older and not fully vaccinated should continue to wear a mask in public indoor and in crowded outdoor settings as recommended by CDC. 
  • There are some settings where there are still mask requirements, including some federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations and local business and workplace guidance.
  • For the most current advice about when to wear masks, visit VDH’s Mask web page.

Recommendations for fully vaccinated travelers

Fully vaccinated means that it has been two weeks after your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This means two weeks after your one dose of Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine or after your second dose of Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna vaccine. You are also considered to be fully vaccinated if you have completed a COVID-19 vaccination series with a vaccine that has been authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (such as AstraZeneca/Oxford). For the purposes of international travel to the U.S., the definition of fully vaccinated is slightly different. 

If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may not be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated. You should continue taking all precautions until your healthcare provider says you no longer need to do so. If you have a moderately or severely weakened immune system, CDC recommends that you should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, to improve your initial response to the vaccine.  

Individuals 18 years and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose at least 6 months after completing their initial series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or at least 2 months after receiving the initial Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Some individuals who are eligible for a booster dose may have a preference for the vaccine type that they initially received, while others may prefer to get a different booster. You may choose which vaccine you receive as a booster dose, if you are eligible for one. More information is available at VDH’s COVID-19 Vaccination Response

Information for domestic travelers

  • You can travel safely within the U.S. 
  • You do not need to get tested before or after travel, and you do not need to stay home (quarantine) after travel. 
  • If you plan to travel by air, check if your airline requires any testing, vaccination, or other documents.

Information for international travelers

  • Non-U.S. citizen, nonimmigrants who are aged 18 years or older are required to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination status. CDC’s website provides a list of limited exceptions to this vaccination requirement. 
  • All air passengers entering the U.S., who are fully vaccinated, must have proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen test) taken within 3 days before departure. Alternatively, they could show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 within the past 3 months. 
  • You should get tested 3-5 days after travel, as international travel poses additional risks. 
  • You do not need to stay home (quarantine) after arriving in the U.S. 

All fully vaccinated travelers should follow these recommendations and requirements for traveling safely:  

  • Before travel, make sure you understand your destination’s requirements for travelers related to masking, testing, and quarantine. You only need to get tested before travel if it is required by your destination. For international travel, information about requirements for your destination may be available from the Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health, or the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information webpage.
  • During travel, follow U.S. state and local or international recommendations and requirements, including those for masking and physical distancing. 
  • Wear a mask that covers both your mouth and nose when waiting for, traveling on, or departing from public transportation within, into or out of the United States. Travelers are not required to wear masks in outdoor areas of a transportation conveyance or outdoor areas of transportation hubs in the U.S. 
  • Monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days after you travel. Isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms of COVID-19.

Recommendations for travelers who are not fully vaccinated

Delay travel until you are fully vaccinated. After receiving your final dose of vaccine, wait for 2 weeks before traveling because it takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel either in the U.S. or internationally, follow the recommendations provided below.  

Before travel: 

  • Get a COVID-19 viral test (e.g., PCR or antigen test) 1-3 days before traveling. Get tested no more than a day before travel, if you are traveling to the U.S. by plane. Testing does not eliminate all risk, but it can help make travel safer. 
  • Do not travel if you are ill, if your PCR or antigen test result is positive, if you are waiting for your test result, or if you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
  • Determine if COVID-19 is spreading at or near your destination. Check U.S. states or counties if you are traveling in the U.S. Look at the cases in the area in the last 7 days.
  • Consider getting travel insurance in case you need to cancel your trip due to illness.
  • If you plan to travel by air, check if your airline requires any testing, vaccination, or other documents. There are certain requirements for international travelers. Domestic travelers should also check with their airlines. 

During travel: 

  • Wear a mask covering both your mouth and nose in most public settings, including public transportation. It is recommended, but not required, that travelers who are not fully vaccinated wear masks in outdoor areas of a transportation conveyance or transportation hubs in the U.S.
  • Avoid crowds and close contact by staying at least 6 feet (about two arms’ length) from anyone who is not traveling with you.
  • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. 
  • Follow U.S. state and local or international recommendations or requirements for masking, physical distancing, and testing. For international travel, information about requirements for your destination may be available from the Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health, or the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information webpage.
  • Make sure you know where and how you can get medical care if needed at your destination.
  • If you know that you were exposed to someone with COVID-19, stay home (quarantine) and postpone further travel. You and your travel companions (including children) pose a risk to your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus. 

Important information for international travelers: 

  • Non-U.S. citizen, nonimmigrants who are aged 18 years or older are required to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination status. CDC’s website provides a list of limited exceptions to this vaccination requirement.
  • All air passengers who are not fully vaccinated and are flying the U.S. are required to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen test) taken no more than 1 day before departure or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 within the past 3 months. 

After travel:

  • Get tested with a viral test (e.g., PCR or antigen test) 3-5 days after travel and stay home (quarantine) for 7 days. Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days.
  • If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 10 days after travel.
  • Avoid being around people at increased risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 for 14 days after you return.
  • Watch your health for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after travel. You can download VDH’s Daily Symptom Monitoring Log to help keep track of your symptoms.

Considerations for people who recently recovered from COVID-19

Travelers who have recovered from COVID-19 within the last 3 months do not need to get tested for COVID-19 or quarantine after travel. Testing is not recommended for people who have had COVID-19 in the last 3 months unless they have symptoms. In order to meet CDC’s requirements for testing of travelers flying into the United States, international travelers may show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., their positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel) to the airline instead of getting tested 1 or 3 days before travel (depending on vaccination status). Additional information is available at CDC’s Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Documentation of Recovery from COVID-19 webpage.

People returning to Virginia after international travel

VDH is sending an email message with health information and guidance to people who recently returned to Virginia after international travel. The email message provides information about monitoring for symptoms, staying home (quarantine or isolation), as well as testing recommendations. This email will also have links to helpful information and resources, as well as the option to request a home COVID-19 test kit from VDH.

If you start to feel sick before, during, or after travel, isolate yourself. 

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected. This applies to all travelers, even if you are fully vaccinated. If you are traveling when you get sick, do not travel until it is safe for you to be around others. This includes your return trip home.

You should also get tested for COVID-19. To find a testing location near you, contact a healthcare provider or visit Virginia COVID-19 Testing Sites or the local health department website in the area where you are traveling. Learn more about what to do if you feel sick.

For more information:

 

Page Last Updated: November 29, 2021