In a May 7 update, the agency stated that “international passengers traveling to the US can use a self-test (sometimes called a home test).”
As of January 26, all international passengers aged two and over flying to the United States (including returning US citizens and permanent residents) must demonstrate a negative COVID-19 test issued within three days prior to boarding the United States The order was introduced in January and the tests had to be done in the laboratory until the update on May 7th.
Now they can be self-administered tests as long as they meet these criteria:
- The test must be either a virus antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), such as a polymerase chain (PCR) test, a reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification test (LAMP test), or a transcription-mediated amplification test.
- The test must have an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- The test procedure must include a telemedicine video call meanwhile, a person authorized by the manufacturer monitors the test procedure. (Note that some FDA-authorized self-tests that include a telehealth service may require a prescription, according to the CDC.)
- The telemedicine provider must prepare a report Confirmation of the identity of the patient, the name of the laboratory or health care facility, the type of test and the date the sample was taken.
Numerous airlines, as well as international hotels in destinations that currently allow American travelers, including Mexico, Costa Rica and the Caribbean, introduced testing options and resources to help Americans meet CDC testing requirements. But this self-test option could certainly make international travel a little easier.
The CDC is reminding international travelers that some countries may have rules or restrictions on importing COVID-19 test kits that are not approved or registered there. “Travelers considering bringing a US-authorized test for use outside the US should contact their destination authorities for information before traveling,” advises the CDC.
COVID test for international travelers at home
So what are the test kit options for those who want to try and bring one? The problem with most home testing kits is that the vast majority still require users to physically send their sample to a laboratory. This is fine if you are in the US, but obviously this is not very plausible if you are overseas and need a test result within three days of flying to the US. However, we did find a COVID-19 test kit that meets CDC requirements and has the self-test option, provides results without a laboratory, and includes a telemedicine service.
BinaxNOW COVID-19 antigen self-test kit
Buy now: $ 24, Walgreens.com
The BinaxNOW COVID-19 self-test is one of the few FDA-approved emergency tests on the market that does not require the user to send a sample to a laboratory (and does not require a prescription from your healthcare provider). It is a rapid antigen self-test that can detect both asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19. It can be used for children 2 years and older if the sample is taken from an adult. People aged 15 and over can take their own sample.
“It was super easy,” says Bryan Kinkade, editor of AFAR, who recently used the BinaxNow self-tests for himself and his family on a trip to Costa Rica. His only advice is to make sure you have a “solid Wi-Fi connection” so that you can download the app and make the telemedicine video call. “They walk you through the whole process,” he says, noting that the test is very similar to a pregnancy test – the reader will see the results after about 10 minutes. “The healthcare provider comes back in front of the camera to review the results that you put up to the camera and then you can see them right away [your] Results in the app. ”
After receiving his results, he uploaded them straight to the United app to check-in for the flight back to the US. “I repeated the process with my wife and son, and 45 minutes after we started my son went back to the beach for afternoon surfing. We were down there with some friends who had been stressed out all week in the hopes that the local clinic would be open, that there would be no guidance or issues that would produce results quickly. “
BinaxNOW was developed by the health and medical diagnostics company Abbott. A trained telemedicine professional guides users via video call with Abbott’s NAVICA app for mobile devices through the self-test at home, where they can also access their COVID-19 test results. The standard kit includes two nasal swabs – the sampling technique is less invasive than the very deep nasal swab sampling that we’ve all heard (if not put up with) horror stories.
Products we write about are independently checked and recommended by our editors. AFAR can earn a commission when you buy through our links, which supports our independent publication.