January 2021 Guidance on Domestic and International Travel

President Joe Biden's Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel has gone into effect. 

This executive order requires international arrivals to have a negative COVID-19 test result prior to departure from January 26th onwards, and mandates a 10-day quarantine on arrival. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about domestic and international travel requirements, courtesy of the CDC:  

Do state and local governments in the US have separate testing requirements for air passengers? 

Yes. Always check and follow state and local recommendations or requirements related to travel in addition to federal requirements. 

Who is checking to make sure that people have a negative test or documentation of recovery before they board a plane to the United States? 

Your airline will confirm a COVID-19 negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before boarding. 

What happens if I test positive? 

People should self-isolate and delay their travel if symptoms develop or a pre-departure test result is positive until they have recovered from COVID-19. Airlines must refuse to board anyone who does not present a negative test result for COVID-19 or documentation of recovery. 

Do I need to get a test before leaving the United States? 

At this time, CDC does not have a testing requirement for outbound travelers, but recommends that you get tested with a viral test (NAAT or antigen) 1-3 days before you travel internationally. Travelers should check with international destinations for their entry requirements. PHL offers an on-site testing clinic in partnership with Jefferson Health. 

Are territories considered foreign countries for the purposes of this Order? 

No. The Order to present a documentation of a negative COVID-19 test or recovery from COVID-19 does not apply to air passengers flying from a US territory. US territories and possessions of the US include American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. 


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Christine Ottow
Director of Strategic Communications
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Heather Redfern
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