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Flying into the NL from the US. Trying to figure out Covid regulations

I have a flight from the US to the NL in June. I'm trying to understand the Netherlands Covid testing requirements. It looks like I need a PCR test done not more than 72 hours before I land at Schipol, AND an instant test done not more that 24 hours prior to landing.
This is really problematic as my combined flights are approximately 16 hours from take off from South Bend, IN to Detroit to Amsterdam.

Any suggestions? Has anyone come up against this issue?

Posted by
3758 posts

This thread discusses an article related to airports including schipol though it may relate more to people transiting through. https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/transportation/useful-article-on-transiting-major-european-airports
It also clearly identifies US citizens can only travel to NL for essential purposes. Withint the past week, State department upped the travel restrictions to many European countries.
But, as always, what are rules today may change by June. Numerous countries have been projecting lightening up of restrictions in time for summer vacations. Hopefully your flight is late June rather than early.
I understand US has a 'home test' kit. Not sure it will be considered valid for the requirements.

Posted by
4557 posts

Whilst not this route, we thought that we were going to have this issue in January when we were due to fly from London to the Canary Islands, a 4 hour flight. PCR tests in the U.K. take at least 48 hours (but not guaranteed), so allowing time to get to the airport plus check in time meant that it would have been touch and go if we could comply. We were poised to cancel the trip. As it happened, lockdown in the U.K. and a ban on foreign travel meant that we couldn’t go anyway. The Spanish government seem to be strictly implementing this rule. Spain requires the full PCR test, not the quick home test. This could change of course, depending on their infection rates.

Sorry I have no direct experience of your route.

Posted by
7391 posts

Kate, We've done it and will be doing it again a few days after you. We used an overnight mail order service. I'll send you a note with the info.

Posted by
385 posts

All passengers 13 years or older departing for the Netherlands must meet one of the following two options for a negative testing requirement:

Option 1: NAAT test 72 hours before arrival AND rapid test 24 hours before the first flight in the itinerary for travel to the Netherlands

Or
Option 2: Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) 24 hours before flight from the first embarkation point (the first flight in the travel itinerary to the Netherlands)

So there you go. And note that the time limit is tied to arrival, not departure.

Posted by
2013 posts

Kateja, it might be more difficult than you posted. My wife is flying back to the States to see family in June so I've been researching her return and reentry into the NL. Reading the Schiphol | Arriving at Schiphol website, it says this regarding the testing options:

The negative test result must be from a NAAT(PCR) test that is no more
than 12 hours old upon boarding the plane to Schiphol.
Or you must
have a negative rapid test result that is no more than 24 hours old
upon boarding and a negative NAAT(PCR) test result that is no more
than 72 hours old when you arrive in the Netherlands. This requirement
applies to all travelers aged 13 and above who are flying to or via
Schiphol, which includes transfer passengers.

So I've been searching for an Atlanta COVID option that would meet her needs - Which, according to this would mean she would have to take the test after 6.15 AM on the morning of her departure or go the 2-test option. Unfortunately, she is on United and not one of the Atlanta Delta COVID-free flights.

Of course, if there's a discrepancy between the official Dutch gov't site and the official Schiphol Airport site... I'd not be surprised given the past few months of chaos. Hopefully - and probably - some of these restrictions may change before June (Oh yeah, there's also the "new" quarantine policy starting on May 15). The gov't is working hard to keep folks out and that's probably a good thing - for them - since we had the highest infection numbers this week since Jan 7th. (Despite those escalating numbers, we are ending the curfew and many lockdown restrictions next week - hard to figure out the plan sometimes).

Posted by
7252 posts

Reading this about the requirements for testing and entry brings to mind an archer trying to hit a target and there are 3 pieces of pegboard between him and the target. One piece is moving side to side, one piece up/down and the third is moving in a circular motion.

Finding the moment when the 3 pieces align so an arrow can pass through a hole in each one and hit the target is like what knowing what the regulations will be 2 months from now and what tests will be available in the time frame needed.

Good Luck

Posted by
7391 posts

The question is if you have to have the PCR result in order to board too or just at arrival?
If not, then you can receive your results while in the air, and the negative antigen test is what allows you to board.

What's the deal with Atlanta and testing, Ron? We're dealing with the PCR for our transatlantic, too, but easier parameters.

Posted by
7391 posts

No matter what the regulations are two months from now, when they are flying back to the Netherlands, they have to be prepared in advance. Tracking down what they need isn’t easy, so they have to know all their options in advance due to the varying eventualities of the moving target. It’s made even more difficult for them because as ex-pats certain labs and procedures in the US are unfamiliar. In Europe their tests will be free, but for travelers in the US, tests are a big chunk of change. They need two tests each, which are $139 for each test at CVS.

This can’t be shrugged off with our usual nebulous prediction about unknown futures. Their futures are known: they will be visiting the States and will need to get home.

This will be the second time flying over during the lockdowns for me. Requirements flying to Europe are difficult to execute. Flying to the States with only an antigen test is simple. I’ve been through the roadblocks and you have to know your options in advance. The philosophical shrug isn’t going to get you through check in and passport control.

Posted by
2013 posts

Bets, Delta was running the Netherlands Covid-Tested Flight program, which was supported by reps here in NL. But in my research, I've discovered that's just ended - so back to square one. You're correct in your posts about "planning ahead," To find a COVID testing option that (1) meets the NL requirements, (2) is open at the time she needs the test, and (3) can put the results in her hands before she has to check-in... it's a challenge.

Her first flight departs at 1.1.20 AM from ATL - so check-in about 9.20 AM. She connects at EWR and her flight to NL takes off at 6.15 PM. Thus, sometime between 6.15 AM and 9.20 AM on the morning of her departure, she has to take and receive negative results on a test to meet the NL 12-hour rule. And in that same period, turn in her rental car, get through the ATL traffic, the ATL airport, etc. It's certainly a challenge. The "turn-around-time" on the 12-hour window is tough, and yes, it's more expensive.

This almost forces you into the 2-test option, which frankly, makes no sense. France talks about opening up for tourists; my wife lives here, pays NL taxes, has a Visa... and can't even get home. There's not a lot of uniformity in the European approach as of late. These tight restrictions also apply to transit folks simply connecting through AMS. As a result, AMS has turned into a ghost town.

I have not found a 12-hour answer yet. (Don't you wish they'd simply provide quick-testing at the airport if they're going to make these rules?). Currently, we're working on the "2-test, 24-hour-and-72- hour" option in order to get her home. If the NL gov't would just drop the 12 or 24-hour requirements they added a few months ago and simply go with the 72-hour requirement - which many countries use - this would be all so much simpler. As it appears now, it will be expensive as her NL healthcare does not work in the USA.

Of course, compounding the problem is that none of us here in the NL are vaccinated. She hopes to get a J&J jab while in the USA. Even if she is successful in that endeavor, under the current rules, she will still need one or two negative tests to re-enter the NL. And then, because of new NL quarantine rules - which don't even start until May 15th - she will have to quarantine for 10 days unless she wants to take another test after 5 days. And this in a country that has incredible internal problems handling the COVID outbreak.

For those of us that live here with EU passports or visas, it's frustrating to deal with these stringent entry requirements while politicians pontificate about opening Europe to tourists.

Posted by
385 posts

From the Delta site
Updated Travel Requirements for Netherlands
Passengers traveling to the Netherlands must provide evidence of a negative test result from either 1) a NAAT test taken within 72 hours of arrival into the Netherlands, as well as a rapid antigen or molecular test within 24 hours of departing flight to the Netherlands, or 2) a NAAT test taken within 24 hours of flight of first embarkation point. Requirements may vary for connecting passengers. Full details.

Negative test taken within 72 hours of arrival?? That can't be right. They must mean prior to arrival. Stay tuned.

Posted by
2013 posts

Yes, the Schiphol Arrivals website says the same thing about the 72-hour test:

Or you must have a negative rapid test result of no more than 24 hours old upon boarding, along with a negative NAAT(PCR) test result that is no more than 72 hours old upon arriving in the Netherlands

In my wife's situation, this means she has to take a 72-hour test no earlier than Thursday at 1.15 PM EST, then get a 24-hour-test after 6.15 PM EST Friday evening (as she departs to AMS at 6.15 PM EST on Saturday). So, to meet the 2-test restriction. she has to do two tests on back-to-back dates - with approximately 29 hours between them. Unfortunately, ATL is not one of the airports participating in the on-site testing (YET!) - Still looking for options!

Talking to my friends at KLM last night, this process is driving them crazy regarding their airline crews. This is such a stupid rule...that just needs to go away