New U.S. Travel Rules Have Kicked In — You Now Need A COVID-19 Test 1 Day Before Flying In

Even if you're fully vaccinated.

Senior Editor
The U.S. Updated Travel Rules & Will Require A COVID-19 Test 1 Day Before Flying In

Travelling to and from the U.S. has gotten more complicated. On December 2, the White House announced a slew of new measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 virus variants, including an update to U.S. travel rules.

As of December 6, the U.S. government requires international air travellers to undergo a COVID-19 test within just one day of their departure for the United States.*

The new rule will apply to all travellers, whether they're fully vaccinated or not.

The White House says that "this tighter testing timeline provides an added degree of public health protection as scientists continue to assess the Omicron variant." The World Health Organization has said it's so far unclear whether Omicron, which it calls a "variant of concern," is more transmissible or causes worse symptoms than other variants.

The U.S. has also extended their mask mandate for air and rail travel, as well as all public transportation, to March 18. Fines for breaking this rule run from $500 to $3,000.

The news from the U.S. comes after Canada updated its own border rules in response to the emergence of Omicron.

Canada, for its part, will begin on-arrival testing for passengers on all inbound international flights excluding those coming from the U.S.

Fully vaccinated travellers who undergo on-arrival testing will have to quarantine pending a negative test result. Unvaccinated travellers with a right to enter Canada will have to wait for their results in a "designated quarantine facility or other suitable location," in addition to quarantining for 14 days following their arrival.

*Editor's note: An earlier version of this article's headline stated that the U.S. will require a COVID-19 test one day before arrival by air. The test will be required one day before departure by air.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Thomas MacDonald
Senior Editor
Thomas MacDonald is a Senior Editor for MTL Blog focused on Montreal public transit and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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