Update: The new rules requiring a test within 1 day of departure will begin Monday at 12:01am ET.
The White House today announced a series of new actions to combat COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.
Of interest to travelers is that starting “early next week” all travelers flying to the US will be required to take COVID test within 1 day before departure. You can take the test as early as midnight local time the day before your flight to the US.
You will still be able to take a quicker and less expensive antigen test, instead of a pricey PCR test. You can also take an easy to use telehealth antigen tests from eMed or other telehealth antigen test providers.
Note that the BinaxNOW tests are not valid for travel to the US. They look like this and don’t include a proctor to verify the results:
The eMed travel eligible antigen tests look like this:
I wrote about my experience with eMed tests back when I flew from Reykjavik to Newark in August. Since then, some states, such as Ohio, now provide free eMed tests. I used one of those free tests when flying from Johannesburg to Newark in October without a hitch. It’s awesome to be able to take a COVID test right from the comfort of your hotel room at any time of the day!
The White House also announced that at home tests will be fully reimbursable through your private insurance, though that won’t be available until sometime next month. It’s unclear if eMed tests will be included in that coverage.
For those without private health insurance, tests will be distributed for free throughout the US at over 20,000 designated sites, though we don’t yet know when that will begin or what type of tests will be distributed.
Note that if you are departing from Israel, you need a PCR to enter the terminal unless you have proof of vaccination or digital proof of recovery and Israel plans on cracking down on those requirements. As Americans don’t have access to digital proof of recovery, that means they will need to carry their CDC vaccination card to exempt themselves from the PCR requirement and be able to provide telehealth antigen results to the checkin agent. In Israel, vaccinated means that you have received a vaccine or booster within the past 180 days, but not less than the 14 days ago.
I’m just happy that the US will still accept antigen results, as getting a PCR within 1 day is no easy task in many countries!