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As of June 4 – Rapid COVID-19 PCR Tests – Rules are changing daily! At this time, we must rely on each airline’s policy. Read Covid rules at the top of an airline’s website up to a week before departure. Every airline and country differ. 2 weeks prior we will send you final AFS departure letter with instructions specific to your trip.
At present, a Rapid (RT) PCR test is needed for international flights and to enter most countries and needed to return to the USA. RT-PCR means PCR test with Rapid Results within 24 hours. We hope this will be eliminated by the time your trip goes. No mailing kits. All tests are free or covered by insurance. To get fast with no wait, make an appointment at a private lab for a fee. There are now thousands of labs around US. Also, more testing sites opening daily with easy drive-through. Call your healthcare provider or Urgent Care near you. Google “free no cost Covid testing near me.” Most state and federal programs provide this or Google airport to see if a test is available there (JFK $75). Rural areas are more challenging. You may need to drive to an appointment in a nearby city. At present, it’s free at Walgreens and CVS. They will bill your insurance company. But our travelers report having problems using drugstores saying “they are clueless!” UrgentCare is better. Personally, I’d pay a private lab to get instant negative RT PCR to hand airline. (Best trick – if you say you may have been “exposed to a Covid person” or if you feel “symptoms” like fatigue or say CDC recommended, it must be free.) If the test is positive go to a different place for a re-test because there are a high number of false positives. Here’s a great new site with 6000 places … TestForTravel.com
Outbound – Most airlines require a negative PCR test within 96 to 72 hours prior to the departure of your first flight, before you embark on first leg of trip. This new rule makes travel more challenging, but we must follow it to protect ourselves and those on the flight. Read specific airline rules on the website, also any rules on connections in transit. Those vaccinated still need to show a test but may change. Get RT-PCR Test with guaranteed results within 24 to 48 hours. They email the result to you. Print out to bring at check-in. Also, take a pic with your cell phone and save it. The test must read “PCR”. (We’ve had nobody test positive yet if so, call us at 770-432-8225. Many tests are inaccurate and a re-test shows negative.) Don’t forget to bring your vaccine card if you have one!
Homebound – Airline may require negative antigen PCR test to board departure flight to USA. We hope this is eliminated by your trip date. If a test is necessary within 72 hours of departure, we can help arrange test for our group in each country. Details later by email. As of May 10 new mail in-home kits the CDC announced you can now bring to do there for return into USA. The CDC only certifies kits from eMeds- 6pack $150, however, outbound some airlines may not accept this for departure.