All inbound passengers from the United Kingdom will be required to present a negative COVID-19 ahead of their trip to the United States. The new mandate from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will take effect on Monday, December 28, 2020. Below are a number of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the new COVID-19 UK – US testing policy.
Negative COVID-19 Now Required To Enter USA From UK
While much is still unknown about the “mutant” strain of the virus that has popped up in the UK, early analysis indicates it is not more deadly, but is more contagious. As a result, countries around the world have banned traffic from the UK.
While the USA has not gone that far, it will require all passengers originating in the UK to present a COVID-19 less than 72 hours old prior to their flight departure to the USA.
Commenting on the change in policy, the CDC noted:
“This additional testing requirement will fortify our protection of the American public to improve their health and safety and ensure responsible international travel.”
Passengers who are merely connecting via the UK from another country will not be required to present the negative COVID-19 test.
Yesterday, United Airlines joined British Airways, Delta, and Virgin Atlantic in requiring inbound UK passengers to present a negative COVID-19 test prior to departure. That new requirement also went into effect on Monday, December 28th. It left American Airlines as the only carrier that did not require such a test. During the low-seasons, American is only serving London from its Dallas hub.
The new federal mandate overrides individual carrier rules.
FAQ About COVID-19 Testing Requirements For UK – USA Travel
Below are some commonly-asked questions concerning the new testing requirements for travelers in the UK flying to the USA
What Kind Of COVID-19 Test Is Required?
The test must be a viral test (PCR/antigen test). Antibody tests are not accepted.
How Old Can The Test Be?
The test must be not older than 72 hours before UK scheduled departure time for your trip to the USA.
Are U.S. Citizens Exempt?
U.S. citizens are not exempt. All travelers originating in the UK must present a negative COVID-19 test ahead of travel.
Are UK Connecting Passengers Exempt?
Yes. If you are merely transiting through the UK, no test is needed.
Must I Print Out My Coronavirus Test?
No, an electronic copy may be presented to the airline. However, it may make your life easier to print a couple copies out of an abundance of caution.
What Happens If I Do Not Take The Test?
Per the CDC, “If a passenger chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.”
How Long Will The Test Be Required?
The new policy is open-ended and has no expiration date.
Are There Any Exceptions?
While unpublished diplomatic exceptions may exist, there are no known exceptions to this new mandate.
Does London Heathrow Offer Airport Testing?
Yes. Same-day, pre-flight rapid tests are available for ticketed passengers at the Collinson testing center located in Terminal 2 at LHR.
Beginning on December 28th, a negative COVID-19 test will be required to fly from the UK to the USA. Understand that you’ll need to take a test not more than 72 hours prior to scheduled departure. All passengers, including U.S. citizens, must present a negative test.