As of 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, June 12, 2022, passengers flying to the United States from abroad will no longer need to present a negative COVID-19 test to board (or prove that they have recovered from COVID-19 within the prior 90 days). Non-U.S. citizens, including those entering on temporary visas (with limited exceptions), must still show proof that they are fully vaccinated.
This relaxation of the test requirement was announced by the White House based on a CDC recommendation. The CDC determined that the science and data made it clear that the requirement was no longer needed, at least in part because of the great progress that the United States has made in terms of vaccines and treatments that prevent serious illness and deaths. The CDC, however, will review the data within 90 days and reinstate the requirement if circumstances change.
The negative COVID-test rule for international travel back to the United States was first put in place in January 2021 by the Trump Administration. At that time, the test had to be performed within three days of boarding. By December 2021, the Biden Administration changed the rule to require the test within one day of departure. For some time, the rule has been opposed by airlines and the travel industry because of its financial impact. Travel plans were being postponed because individuals feared being stuck abroad if they or any member of their party tested positive. Moreover, some individuals who tested positive (or feared they would) were circumventing the rule by entering the United States at a land or sea port of entry where negative COVID-19 tests were not required.
In April 2021, a federal court struck down the COVID-19 mask mandate for planes, trains and buses, although the CDC still recommends masking, and the administration is appealing that decision.