The new rule is active as of 28th December 2020.
As for the test, this can either be a PCR test or an antigen test. It must be taken no more than 72 hours before your departure from the UK.
This applies to all passengers departing the United Kingdom, be they a US Citizen or otherwise.
You will be expected to provide your airline with written documentation of your lab test result. If you do not provide this documentation or refuse to take a test, you will be denied boarding.
The move follows New York State demanding negative test before travel, as well as airlines starting to order this.
Per the US CDC release:
Today, President Trump is taking another step to protect the health of the American people by requiring air passengers arriving from the United Kingdom (U.K.) to test negative, via PCR or Antigen test, no more than 72 hours before departure from the U.K. to the United States.
The public health authorities in the United Kingdom recently announced the discovery of a new variant of SARS-CoV-2. Viruses constantly change through mutation, and preliminary analysis in the U.K. suggests that this new variant may be up to 70% more transmissible than previously circulating variants.
On March 14, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation to suspend the entry of foreign nationals who visited the United Kingdom in the past 14 days. This has reduced air travel to the U.S. from the U.K. by about 90%. This additional testing requirement will fortify our protection of the American public to improve their health and safety and ensure responsible international travel. The order is consistent with existing CDC testing guidance and U.S. Department of Transportation / Federal Aviation Administration guidance in the “Roadway to Recovery” document.
This new order is consistent with the measures that have been taken so far to increase our ability to detect and contain COVID-19 proactively and aggressively.
Passengers are required to get a viral test (i.e., a test for current infection) within the 3 days before their flight from the U.K. to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (in hard copy or electronic) to the airline. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers before they board. If a passenger chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.
The UK FCDO has its travel advice https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa – which mirrors this advice.
Whilst there is on-site testing at Heathrow Airport, you will need to book beforehand to utilise it. You can use other labs if needed – but again, the test needs to be completed 72 hours before departure.
Again, plan before you depart – and consider if your journey is necessary.
- US CDC Statement: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/s1224-CDC-to-require-negative-test.html
- UK FCDO Update: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa
COVID Test image via PixelBay (Free for Commerical Use Licence) https://pixabay.com/photos/test-tube-covid-19-mask-medical-5065424/
Welcome to Economy Class and Beyond – Your no-nonsense guide to network news, honest reviews, with in-depth coverage, unique research as well as the humour and madness as I only know how to deliver.