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Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 requirements for travel to the United States

With the new global situation, the government of the United States of America is asking for special requirements about COVID-19.


We want to give you the official answer that ICT has given about it. If you can find what you are looking for, ask us about it in the chat. We will be happy to help you!


Who must show a negative COVID-19 test in order to fly into the United States? 

Any passenger who is over two years old and enters the US on a commercial, private, or charter flight, or in transit.


Which tests do the US accept as valid for compliance with this travel requirement? 

The US accepts two types of tests: the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and the antigen test.


Who is authorized to provide COVID-19 testing?

Testing may be done at laboratories authorized by the Ministry of Health of Costa Rica (see list at the end of this document). The labs also offer home service and, subject to prior coordination, at certain hotels. Only authorized laboratory technical personnel may collect the test samples.


How long will the lab take to deliver test results? 

For PCR tests, authorized labs will take a maximum of 48 hours to deliver the results to the person concerned. The results of antigen tests will be delivered within a couple of hours after the sample has been analyzed.


How many hours before travelling to the United States should the test be taken?

The test should be taken no more than 72 hours before starting travel to the US. The negative result must be obtained before the flight, and the document to certify the result must be presented to the airline. 


Does this provision apply only to commercial flights to the United States?

The requirement of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen), is applicable to every passenger on all types of flights whose destination is the US: commercial, private, or charter flights.


Who checks the negative test result before the passenger boards the airplane? 

The airline is responsible for reviewing the documentation and deciding whether the passenger will be allowed to travel or not. 


Can the airline refuse to board a passenger?

Yes. The US government authorizes airlines to refuse to board a passenger who fails to show a negative result with an approved COVID-19 test.


Can the COVID-19 vaccine be used instead of the test?

 No. All passengers who travel to the US by air – regardless of their immunization status – must show a negative COVID-19 test, or documentation showing that they recovered from COVID-19, issued no earlier than within the last three months.


Are there other requirements that must be complied with in order to enter the USA?

Yes. In addition to the negative result on an approved COVID-19 test, every passenger must present to the airline an affidavit called the “Attestation Requirement,” certifying that he is free of COVID-19. 


If you have more questions, you can download the complete PDF document that ICT has prepared for you in this link. Official ICT (Instituto Costarricense de Turismo) document on Questions and requirements for travel to the USA.

Source: Material de apoyo Sector Turismo

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