Whitehouse Centers for Disease Control and Prevention US Department of Homeland Security - Federal Emergency Management Agency

Traveling

State or local governments may have issued orders or provided additional guidance.

Check public health departments for detailed information.

The COVID-19 outbreak in United States is a rapidly evolving situation. The status of the outbreak varies by location and state and local authorities are updating their guidance frequently. The White House’s Opening Up America Again plan means some parts of the country may have different guidance than other areas. Check with the state or local authorities where you are, along your route, and at your planned destination to learn about local circumstances and any restrictions that may be in place.

Depending on your unique circumstances, you may choose to delay or cancel your plans. If you do decide to travel, be sure to take steps to help prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases during travel. For the most up-to-date COVID-19 travel information, visit CDC COVID-19 Travel page.

Last updated May 01, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask over their nose and mouth when in the community setting, including during travel if they must travel. This as an additional public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in addition to (not instead of) social distancing, frequent hand cleaning and other everyday preventive actions. A mask is not intended to protect the wearer but may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others. This would be especially important in the event that someone is infected but does not have symptoms. Medical masks and N-95 respirators are still reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Last updated April 03, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site

After travel, all travelers should take these actions to protect others from getting sick:

  • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household. It’s important to do this everywhere — both indoors and outdoors.
  • Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth when you are outside of your home.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
  • Watch your health: Look for symptoms of COVID-19, and take your temperature if you feel sick.
  • See CDC’s After Travel webpage to learn if you should take additional precautions.

Follow state, territorial, tribal, and local recommendations or requirements.

Last updated November 20, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site

  • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household. It’s important to do this everywhere — both indoors and outdoors.
  • Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when you are outside of your home.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
  • Watch your health: Look for symptoms of COVID-19, and take your temperature if you feel sick.
  • See CDC’s After Travel webpage to learn if you should take additional precautions.

Follow state, territorial, tribal, and local recommendations or requirements.

Last updated October 01, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site

Air travel requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes. However, social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and you may have to sit near others (within 6 feet), sometimes for hours. This may increase your risk for exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.

CDC strongly recommends everyone wear a mask on public transportation and at transportation hubs, including on airplanes and in airports.

For more information: Exposure Risk During Travel

Last updated November 20, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site

Under current federal regulations, pilots must report all illnesses and deaths to CDC before arriving to a US destination. According to CDC disease protocols, if a sick traveler is considered to be a public health risk, CDC works with local and state health departments and international public health agencies to contact passengers and crew exposed to that sick traveler.

Be sure to give the airline your current contact information when booking your ticket so you can be notified if you are exposed to a sick traveler on a flight.

For more information: Contact Investigation

Last updated March 27, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has implemented changes to the security screening process that reduce the potential for cross-contamination at the security checkpoint in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. TSA has already begun implementation of these changes – with more to be implemented at airport checkpoints nationwide by mid-June.

As procedure changes begin to rollout in the coming weeks, travelers should expect to:

  • Keep possession of their boarding passes. Instead of handing their boarding pass to a TSA officer at the travel document podium, travelers should now place their boarding pass (paper or electronic) on the boarding pass reader themselves. After scanning, travelers should hold their boarding pass toward the TSA officer to allow the officer to visually inspect it. This change reduces the TSA officer’s need to touch a passenger’s boarding pass thus reducing potential for cross-contamination.

  • Separate food for X-ray screening. Passengers should place their carry-on food items into a clear plastic bag and place that bag into a bin. Food items often trigger an alarm during the screening process; separating the food from the carry-on bag lessens the likelihood that a TSA officer will need to open the carry-on bag and remove the food items for a closer inspection. This requirement allows social distancing, reduces the TSA officer’s need to touch a person’s container of food and reduces potential for cross-contamination. TSA Precheck members do not need to remove items from their bags.

  • Pack smart. Passengers should take extra care to ensure that they do not have any prohibited items, such as liquids, gels or aerosols in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces, in their carry-on bags (water bottles, shampoo). In response to COVID-19, TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags. Passengers are required to remove the hand sanitizer from the carry-on bag before being submitted for X-ray screening. If a bag is found to contain a prohibited item, passengers may be directed to return to the divestiture table outside of security with their carry-on bags to remove the item and dispose of the item. The passenger may also be directed back outside of security to remove items that should have originally been divested (such as laptops, liquids, gels, and aerosols, and large electronics) and resubmit their property for X-ray screening. By resolving alarms in this manner, TSA officers will need to touch the contents inside a carry-on bag much less frequently, reducing the potential for cross-contamination.

  • Practice social distancing. Passengers should allow for social distancing to reduce direct contact between employees and travelers whenever possible without compromising security. Noticeable adjustments leading up to the security checkpoint include, increasing the distance between individuals as they enter the security checkpoint, placing visual reminders of appropriate spacing on checkpoint floors and staggering the use of lanes where feasible. No two airports are alike, so this could look a little different at each airport.

  • Wear facial protection. TSA officers at checkpoints are now using facial protection. Travelers are encouraged to wear face protection to the checkpoint as well. Please note, however, passengers may need to adjust it during the screening process. Travelers are also encouraged to remove items such as belts, and items from their pockets, like wallets, keys and phones, and put them directly into their carry-on bags instead of into the bins to reduce touch-points during the screening process.

Travelers who have not flown since the pandemic are also likely to notice some other changes. They include:

  • Reduced security lane usage due to the reduction in passenger volume.
  • All TSA officers at checkpoints wearing masks and gloves.
  • TSA officers optionally wearing eye protection and clear plastic face shields at some locations.
  • TSA officers will continue the practice of changing gloves after each pat-down.
  • Plastic shielding installed at many travel document checking podiums, divest, bag search and drop off locations.
  • TSA officers practicing social distancing.
  • Routine cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces in the screening checkpoint area.

Last updated June 05, 2020
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Securitylinks to external site

Entry to the U.S. has been suspended for nearly all foreign nationals who have been in:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Iran
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • Vatican City

Permanent residents of the United States, certain family members, and other individuals who meet specified exceptions who have been in one of the countries listed above in the past 14 days will be allowed to enter the United States through one of the designated U.S. airports.

After arriving to the United States from one of these countries, CDC recommends that travelers stay home and monitor their health for 14 days.

Last updated May 29, 2020
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Securitylinks to external site

Yes. American citizens, legal permanent residents, and their immediate families can return to the United States.

American citizens, legal permanent residents, and their immediate families who are returning home to the U.S. must travel through one of designated U.S. airports upon arrival, submit to an enhanced entry screening, and self-quarantine for 14 days once they reach their final destination.

Last updated May 29, 2020
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Securitylinks to external site

Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. COVID-19 risk in most countries is high, and travelers should avoid nonessential travel to high-risk destinations. Travelers at increased risk for severe illness should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to high-risk destinations. To check a destination’s COVID-19 risk level see COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination.

Some healthcare systems are overwhelmed and there may be limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas. Many countries are implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be disrupted. If you get sick or are exposed to a person with COVID-19 during your trip, you may be isolated or quarantined and your return to the United States may be delayed.

CDC also recommends all travelers put off all cruise ship travel worldwide.

Last updated November 20, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site

CDC recommends that all travelers defer all cruise ship travel worldwide. Recent reports of COVID-19 on cruise ships highlight the risk of infection to cruise ship passengers and crew. Like many other viruses, COVID-19 appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships.

Last updated March 27, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site

In order to limit the further spread of coronavirus, the U.S. has reached agreements with both Canada and Mexico to limit all non-essential travel across borders.

“Non-essential” travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.

Supply chains, including trucking, will not be impacted by this measure. Those who cross the land border every day to do essential work or for other urgent or essential reasons, and that travel will not be impacted.

Limits on non-essential travel were first implemented on March 21, 2020 and have been periodically reevaluated and extended by the United States, Canada, and Mexico. On August 14, 2020, the measures were again extended to September 21, 2020.

Last updated August 31, 2020
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Securitylinks to external site

Most travelers can go back to work but should take precautions. Some travelers may have higher risk of exposure and should stay home for 14 days. See CDC’s After Travel webpage to learn what precautions you should take.

Last updated November 20, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site

Yes. Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf has indicated the new deadline for REAL ID enforcement is October 1, 2021.

Last updated March 26, 2020
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Securitylinks to external site

To help prevent the introduction of Coronavirus into our border facilities and into our country, illegal aliens subject to the order will not be held by CBP, and instead will immediately be turned away from ports of entry.

Those encountered between ports of entry after illegally crossing the border similarly will not be held for processing and instead, will immediately be returned to their country of last transit.

These aliens are processed in stations designed for short-term processing, where distancing is not a viable option, creating serious danger of an outbreak.

Last updated March 31, 2020
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Securitylinks to external site

Be aware that some countries are conducting exit screening for all passengers leaving their country. Before being permitted to board a departing flight, you may have your temperature taken and be asked questions about your travel history and health.

Last updated March 27, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site