Is a negative COVID-19 test required to enter the U.S.?
- Yes. As of January 26, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires all persons flying to the U.S. from an international destination to obtain a verifiable negative COVID-19 viral test (PCR or Antigen) taken no more than three (3) days prior to the date of the flight.
- This new regulation applies to all travellers ages 2 and older, including U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who have been visiting The Bahamas.
- The CDC requires that air passengers travelling to the U.S. have a paper or electronic copy of their test result for review by the airline before they board and for potential review by public health officials after they arrive in the U.S.
- For full details on the latest requirements for entering the U.S., please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html
Do I need to quarantine upon entry to the U.S.?
In addition to testing requirements for air passengers, travellers will also be required to comply with other applicable CDC guidelines concerning international travel, including recommended periods of self-quarantine or self-isolation after entry into the United States.
Upon entry to the United States, the CDC recommends that unvaccinated travellers:
- Receive another test 3-5 days after travel and stay home or otherwise self-quarantine for 7 days after travel. Even if the test is negative, travellers should stay home for the full 7 days.
- For those who do not get tested, they are required to stay home for 10 days.
- State and local recommendations or requirements related to travel will also apply to each individual.
If you are fully vaccinated, per CDC guidelines you should continue to follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely and get tested 3-5 days after travel.
- You do not need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it.
- You do not need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.
I have been fully vaccinated, but have come in contact with someone who is infected, do I need to quarantine upon arrival in the U.S.?
Based on current CDC guidance, people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to quarantine if they are exposed to the coronavirus, as long as they meet all of the following criteria:
- Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
- Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series
- Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure
- Persons who do not meet all 3 of the above criteria should continue to follow the CDC’s current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
What happens if I don’t take a test and want to travel to the U.S.?
- Airlines are required by the CDC to confirm the verifiable negative PCR test or a negative antigen test result for all passengers before they board and will deny boarding to any person who does not present a negative test or documentation of recovery.
What if I recently recovered from COVID-19?
- The CDC does not recommend getting tested again in the three months after a positive viral test, as long as the person does not have symptoms of COVID-19. If you have had a positive viral test in the past 3 months, and you have met the CDC’s criteria to end isolation, you may travel instead with documentation of your positive viral test results and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official that states you have been cleared for travel. The positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.”
- Documentation of recovery will be accepted by airlines to board a flight to the U.S.
What counts as a verifiable test result?
- A verifiable test result must be in the form of written documentation (paper or electronic copy) of a laboratory test result. Testing must be performed using a viral test (PCR or antigen), and negative results must be provided to the airline prior to boarding.
- The test result documentation must include information that identifies the passenger, a specimen collection date and the type of test.
- A negative test result must show test was done within the 3 days before the flight.
- A positive test result must show the test was done within the 3 months before the flight and must be accompanied by a letter from a healthcare provider or public health official confirming clearance for travel.
I am an unvaccinated traveller staying in The Bahamas longer than four nights and five days, and therefore a rapid antigen test is already included as part of my Bahamas Travel Health Visa. Does this test qualify for entry into the U.S.?
- Yes. The Bahamas’ travel and entry protocols require all visitors and returning citizens and residents staying in The Bahamas longer than four nights and five days to take a rapid antigen test on the fifth day of their stay.
- If taken no more than three (3) days before departure to the U.S., this rapid antigen test can act as the negative test result required by the CDC.
What if I am not required to take a rapid antigen test while travelling in The Bahamas? (applies to those who are vaccinated or unvaccinated and staying less than four nights and five days) How can I secure a rapid test to return to the U.S.?
- Persons who need to secure a rapid antigen test in order to travel to the U.S. have plenty of options in The Bahamas. A number of testing sites throughout The Bahamas are approved to administer rapid antigen tests, which means travellers and residents alike readily have access to the viral tests, now required to enter the U.S.
Where can I take a rapid antigen test?
- An approved list of testing sites is available below. Tests in Nassau & Paradise Island will be conducted at Doctors Hospital or at an approved medical clinic.
- Tests in Grand Bahama Island and the Family Islands will be conducted at an approved medical clinic.
How much does the rapid test cost?
- For those visitors staying in The Bahamas longer than four nights and five days, the cost of the rapid antigen test is included in the Bahamas Travel Health Visa and paid in advance of travel.
- For all visitors staying less than four nights and five days, as well as Bahamian citizens and residents planning to travel to the U.S., the cost of the rapid test is $25.
How long until rapid test results are ready?
- The rapid antigen tests taken in The Bahamas are easy, quick and will yield results in 60 minutes or less, with results being provided electronically by SMS text message and email.