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FAQ: NEW COVID-19 REQUIREMENTS FOR TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES

Preguntas frecuentes

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.

What is the reference price for the tests in Costa Rica?

The reference prices for PCR tests are USD $100 at laboratories in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM), and USD $150 outside of the GAM. The reference price of the antigen tests has not been determined yet, however, they tend to be less expensive and the results are returned faster.

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 traveling 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.

What format do the labs use to deliver the test results?

Results will be sent to the email provided by the passenger, who may show the airline a print-out or electronic copy, in accordance with guidelines from the US Centers for Disease and Control (CDC).

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

Can I travel to the USA if I already had COVID-19 and recovered?

If you tested positive on a PCR or antigen test within the last three months, and have complied with the isolation criteria, you may travel if you show the positive result of the test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official, stating that you are authorized to travel because you have recovered. The positive result of the test and the letter are referred to as the «recovery documents.” If the recovery period is longer than three months, the test must be taken again.

What happens if the passenger's test is a positive result before traveling?

Passengers who test positive will have to comply with the 14-day quarantine period, which must be supported by a travel insurance policy covering lodging, and which was acquired as a requirement for entering Costa Rica

What happens if the passenger's test is a positive result before traveling?

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. That document can be downloaded at the following link:

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Source: Cámara Costarricense de la Salud.

Updated: January 20, 2020

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