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Traveling to another country can be a pleasant hassle. Speaking a new language, finding your way around, or even making sure you are not eating something you would rather not. However, COVID-19 restrictions are continuing to add another layer of complexity to overseas travel.
If you are planning an international vacation this summer, know the rules before you run into an unexpected roadblock.
The U.S. dropped the COVID testing requirement for inbound international travel. This rescinds a COVID-19 testing order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Under the December 2021 requirement, if you traveled internationally, you had to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than one day from your flight home. If you recovered from COVID-19 within 90 days of your flight home, you could submit documentation from your doctor to satisfy this requirement.
The rule applied to those fully vaccinated and boosted or who had COVID-19 before. However, these rules did not apply to travelers under 2 years old.
Many people flying or taking other public transportation are confused about the latest masking requirements.
In February 2021, the CDC issued the federal mask mandate for travelers on public transportation (trains, planes, cabs, and buses) and in public transportation areas (airports and train and bus stations). However, in April 2022, a Florida federal judge ruled the mask mandate was unlawful.
Shortly thereafter, Amtrak and major airlines such as Delta, American Airlines, and United revised their masking requirements, allowing it to be optional for their passengers.
The Biden administration filed a notice of appeal on April 20 in response to the judge's ruling. However, launching an appeal could take months, and if the order stands, it is uncertain if the CDC could issue a new federal mask requirement in the future.
While the CDC recommends wearing a mask on planes, in airports, and in other transportation hubs, it cannot require masks at this time.
The CDC also has a COVID-19 color status for cruise ships that participate in a voluntary reporting on their COVID-19 cases among passengers and crew. The CDC reviews the ship's health and safety protocols reported by the cruise line. The CDC then assigns a color status to that ship:
The CDC also recently revised their cruise ship vaccination status threshold for "fully vaccinated," meaning receiving a full course of vaccine and booster shots according to CDC vaccine guidelines.
If planning a summer cruise, check out your cruise ship's status and determine if the risk is acceptable to you. The ships will be running, however, and may still have vaccination requirements in place.
With COVID-19 and the Omicron variant affecting different populations, countries may change their COVID-19 testing and masking requirements at any time. Other countries may still require proof of vaccination to enter, as well. So keep up to date on the areas you are traveling to avoid hassles interfering with your vacation.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.