Do You Need to Be Vaccinated to Fly? Latest Travel Details

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination is not required for air travel to and from the U.S. However, those who have not been fully vaccinated are advised against traveling internationally.

Those not fully vaccinated who must travel should get tested for COVID-19 three to five days after their travels, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises.

Those flying into the U.S. are required to have a negative COVID-19 viral test no more than three days before traveling, or show proof of recovery from the virus in the past three months before boarding their U.S.-bound flight, according to the health body.

The CDC says: “Do not travel internationally until you are fully vaccinated. If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s international travel recommendations for unvaccinated people.”

Americans are also told not to travel if they have been exposed to COVID-19, are ill, test positive for COVID-19, or are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test. “Don’t travel with someone who is sick,” the CDC adds.

“The COVID-19 situation, including the spread of new or concerning variants, differs from country to country, and even fully vaccinated travelers need to pay close attention to the situation at their destination before traveling,” the CDC says.

Travel advice for those not fully vaccinated

Those not fully vaccinated who must travel internationally are advised to take the following steps, as outlined by the CDC.

Before you travel

  • Get tested with a COVID-19 viral test one to three days before your trip.
  • Be aware of all airline requirements and other rules related to traveling, testing and quarantine procedures in your destination, which may differ from U.S. requirements. “If you do not follow your destination’s requirements, you may be denied entry and required to return to the United States,” the CDC warns.
  • Check the status of the COVID-19 outbreak in your destination. There are nearly 150 destinations that fall within the CDC’s highest risk assessment level for COVID-19 (Level 4: COVID-19 Very High). “Travelers should avoid all travel to these destinations,” the CDC says. See the CDC website for the latest travel advice for different destinations.

During your travels

  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth. Face coverings are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the U.S. as well as in airports, stations and other U.S. transportation hubs.
  • Avoid crowds and maintain a distance of at least six feet (about two arm lengths) from those who are not traveling with you.
  • Wash your hands often, or use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.

Before returning to the U.S.

  • The CDC states: “All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 viral test result no more than three days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months before they board a flight to the United States.”

After your travels

  • Travelers are advised to get tested for COVID-19 with a viral test “3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel,” the CDC says. See the website of your state, territorial, tribal, and local health department for information on where to get tested.
  • Even those who test negative should stay home and self-quarantine for seven days after travel. “If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected,” the health body says.
  • Those who don’t get tested are told to stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days following their travels.
  • Avoid being around those who are at higher risk for severe illness for 14 days, regardless of whether you get tested or not.
  • Monitor yourself for any COVID-19 symptoms. Isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
  • Follow all state and local post-travel recommendations or requirements.

Travel advice for fully vaccinated people

  • While fully vaccinated people are less likely to get infected and spread the virus, “international travel poses additional risks and even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting, and possibly spreading, new COVID-19 variants,” the CDC warns.
  • Those who have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should “continue to follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely and get tested 3-5 days after travel,” the health body notes.
  • Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to get tested before departing the U.S. “unless your destination requires it,” and you also don’t need to self-quarantine after arriving in the U.S., the CDC says.

See the CDC website for more information on traveling amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

CDC advises against all travel to these destinations

(Places with a “Level 4: COVID-19 Very High” risk assessment warning, as per the CDC)

  1. Albania
  2. Andorra
  3. Antigua and Barbuda
  4. Argentina
  5. Armenia
  6. Aruba
  7. Austria
  8. Azerbaijan
  9. Bahamas, The
  10. Bahrain
  11. Bangladesh
  12. Barbados
  13. Belarus
  14. Belgium
  15. Bermuda
  16. Bolivia
  17. Bonaire
  18. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  19. Botswana
  20. Brazil
  21. Bulgaria
  22. Burma (Myanmar)
  23. Cameroon
  24. Canada
  25. Cape Verde
  26. Central African Republic
  27. Chile
  28. Colombia
  29. Congo, Republic of the
  30. Costa Rica
  31. Croatia
  32. Cuba
  33. Curaçao
  34. Cyprus
  35. Czech Republic
  36. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  37. Denmark
  38. Djibouti
  39. Dominican Republic
  40. Easter Island
  41. Ecuador
  42. Egypt
  43. Estonia
  44. Ethiopia
  45. Finland
  46. France
  47. French Guiana
  48. Gabon
  49. Georgia
  50. Germany
  51. Greece
  52. Guadeloupe
  53. Guatemala
  54. Guinea
  55. Guinea-Bissau
  56. Guyana
  57. Honduras
  58. Hungary
  59. India
  60. Indonesia
  61. Iran
  62. Iraq
  63. Ireland
  64. Israel, including the West Bank and Gaza
  65. Italy
  66. Isle of Man
  67. Ivory Coast
  68. Jamaica
  69. Jordan
  70. Kazakhstan
  71. Kenya
  72. Kosovo
  73. Kuwait
  74. Latvia
  75. Lebanon
  76. Lesotho
  77. Libya
  78. Liechtenstein
  79. Lithuania
  80. Luxembourg
  81. Madagascar
  82. Madeira Islands
  83. Malaysia
  84. Maldives
  85. Mali
  86. Malta
  87. Martinique (France)
  88. Mayotte (France)
  89. Mexico
  90. Moldova
  91. Monaco
  92. Mongolia
  93. Montenegro
  94. Mozambique
  95. Namibia
  96. Netherlands, The
  97. Niger
  98. North Macedonia
  99. Norway
  100. Oman
  101. Pakistan
  102. Panama
  103. Papua New Guinea
  104. Paraguay
  105. Peru
  106. Philippines
  107. Poland
  108. Portugal
  109. Puerto Rico (U.S.)
  110. Qatar
  111. Réunion
  112. Romania
  113. Russia
  114. Saint Barthelemy
  115. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  116. Saint Lucia
  117. Saint Martin
  118. San Marino
  119. São Tomé and Príncipe
  120. Saudi Arabia
  121. Serbia
  122. Seychelles
  123. Slovakia
  124. Slovenia
  125. Somalia
  126. South Africa
  127. South Sudan
  128. Spain
  129. Sweden
  130. Switzerland
  131. Syria
  132. Tunisia
  133. Turkey
  134. Turks and Caicos Islands (U.K.)
  135. Ukraine
  136. United Arab Emirates
  137. U.K.
  138. Uruguay
  139. Venezuela
  140. Virgin Islands, U.S.
  141. Yemen
An airport hostess waiting to assist passengers in an area conducting rapid antigen swab tests for COVID-19 at Malpensa Airport in Milan, Italy on April 3.
Piero Cruciatti/AFP via Getty Images

The wider picture

Coronavirus has infected more than 147.2 million people since it was first reported in Wuhan, China, including over 32 million in the U.S.

More than 3.1 million people have died worldwide while more than 84.9 million have recovered as of Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The graphic below, produced by research provider Statista, shows the total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered per 100 people across different countries.

vaccines worldwide 2021