Since the vaccine rollout and lessening of travel bans, the ‘new normal’ for U.S. travelers is having to get tested before leaving the U.S. and prior to re-entering. This can be a stress-inducing responsibility, especially as many countries have different requirements regarding vaccines, quarantines and tests (not to mention the variance in how many days prior to your trip the test should be taken). When traveling with Latin Excursions, we are committed to providing you with the most up-to-date information regarding exit and entry requirements.
To ease your mind about re-entering the U.S. after a journey to Latin America, here are a few points based on the following FAQs:
Is it necessary to get tested before re-entering the U.S.?
The CDC requires a negative antigen test for re-entry into the U.S. for all citizens and legal residents who are two years of age and older. The test results will be checked by your airline so it is best to check with your airline ahead of time to see if they have any additional requirements for boarding (especially if it is an internationally-based airline).
When do I need to get tested in order to re-enter the U.S.?
If you are vaccinated, your antigen test should be taken within three days of your homebound flight’s departure. Not yet vaccinated? Get tested one day before your return flight.
How can I get tested when abroad?
Our trip designers will be able to provide you with all the information necessary to get tested depending on your travel destination. This will typically involve a healthcare technician coming to your hotel to carry out the testing and sending you the results (via email or phone) just hours later.
That said, you can also opt to purchase a CDC-approved international test kit before you start your trip. Simply bring it with you on the journey and self-administer the test. Something to keep in mind: you will need a strong internet connection in order to make a video call with a telehealth provider.
What happens if I test positive?
Quarantine length depends on the country you are visiting, and you will likely carry out said isolation period in your hotel. For this reason (among others) it is smart to have travel insurance that will cover added expenses of quarantine in the case of testing positive.
If traveling with friends or family, they may be able to fly home without you or, in some countries, they may need to quarantine. Again, there is variance depending on each destination and you should discuss all possible scenarios with your Latin Excursions travel designer prior to traveling.
Our own Turney Maurer, a Latin Excursions Travel Expert, recently traveled to Costa Rica and shared his experience of re-entering the U.S. by way of the SJO (Juan Santamaria international) airport:
“Returning from Costa Rica was actually easier than I thought. A few things need to be improved, but for the most part it was a very smooth process. Covid testing is available at the SJO [Juan Santamaria international] airport and we had booked the Covid test in advance. The test cost each member of our group $60. There is a separate tented area for testing at the airport, clearly marked with signs. Upon arriving you need to show the concierge your passport, verification email and the QR code that was emailed to you upon payment. Then you take a seat and wait for your name to be called. The seats are spaced 6 feet apart and masks are required. When they call your name you walk into a sort of cubicle where they perform the nose swab. Strangely enough, they release you and allow you to enter the airport to await your results, which was odd to me! Luckily it only took about 10 minutes to get our results by email. Once you receive your negative results you can finally advance to the check-in counter of your airline. The attendant needs to verify your results and confirmation number before you can receive your boarding pass, so the check-in machines can no longer be used. The entire process is a little tedious but nothing too time-consuming or confusing.”