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FYI—CDC info. on COVID-19 testing for entry into the US

Hi Everyone—

As there appears to be some misinformation and confusion on what is required with respect to testing to return to the US, I’m hoping this info. will help.

I urge everyone to please, please always double check any info. you receive. It’s important that you get your info. from an official gov. source to make sure the info. you are getting is accurate.

Here is the link to the CDC website that has all the info. on testing. I urge everyone to read it and as things are ever changing, please read again prior to traveling.

There are two key points:

1) The testing time is 3 days prior to departure, not 72 hours. Here is the example the CDC uses: If a passenger’s flight is at 1pm on a Friday, the passenger could board with a negative test that was taken any time on the prior Tuesday or after.

2) There are certain self/home tests that are approved for use to enter the US. This must be an approved test with a telehealth provider.

All of this info. with more details can be found on the CDC link I provided above. Again, I urge everyone to please confirm any info. you receive with an official government source, including this info. provided by me. 😊

Doing some research and having the correct info. will hopefully minimize any potential problems when traveling. I'd also suggest printing out the info. before your trip so you have it with you.

Safe travels everyone!!!

Posted by
5371 posts

This is very helpful, Carrie, thanks for posting. I've seen many references on this forum to the "72-hour" period which is really three calendar days before travel. Note also that this time interval is before departure of the first flight when the traveler has a connecting US-bound flight. For example, if you're flying from Athens to Amsterdam to the US, your test can be three or fewer days before departing from Athens. There are exceptions for flight delays or long layovers due to infrequency of flights.

Posted by
5663 posts

Carrie, thank you very, very much.

Posted by
288 posts


It’s great to keep this post out there and as you said, check it while you’re traveling. Recently I was in France. Prior to departure the rule was 72 hours which was totally confusing with so many people thinking they had to have a test right up to the 72 hour limit. The 3 day is simple as you explained (and I saw while I was away).

Posted by
814 posts

How do you buy a self-test that comes with a remote-session with medical person? Do they sell them at the local pharmacies? Or on e-bay or Amazon? Taking a test in a hotel room and having a session with somebody remotely seems too weird to be true. Suppose the remote session doesn't work due to technical difficulties? What if the medical person who is suppose do do the session me forgets to do the session? Do I have to find a place to print the e-mailed test result if the front desk of the hotel doesn't have a printer? Or is it safer to make an appointment with some kind of clinic at the airport in Madrid or somewhere else in Madrid, my last city before I fly back to Detroit? I rescheduled my trip for March.

Posted by
21 posts

The most popular approved self test seems to be this one from emed. However it seems you have to buy a pack of 6. There is another one that can be bought individually here. I haven't tried them but ppl have said they're easy to use. I plan on ordering the Binax for my trip to Spain in September. I hear you can upload the electronic results directly onto the United airlines app to check in and skip the line at the airport but have not confirmed whether the process is smooth.

Posted by
1523 posts

Hi Mike, I suggest using whatever testing method you are comfortable with.

I purchased the self/home tests for myself and travelling companions from emed for my Switzerland trip in 2 weeks. The tests that you can buy on amazon or at a cvs or walgreens are not approved as they are not linked to a telehealth provider. With the test I purchased, each test taker installs an app on their phone, in our case, the navaca app. When it’s time to test, we log in and are connected to someone who will instruct us and watch us perform the test and then email us the results. The results can be viewed on the app on your phone or printed out.

I understand this sounds a little odd. My goal was to provide everyone with the info. that the self/home test is one option to use. I’m not suggesting anyone use it. But I do think it’s important that everyone is aware of their options so they can make an informed decision on what is best for them.

Maybe come March, the test to return to the US will no longer be required. I’m also planning another trip for March and hope that things won’t be so complicated then. But, if you plan ahead and do your research, anything can be worked out.