Jan. 14, 2021
- On Jan. 12, 2021, the U.S. CDC issued a new order requiring proof of a negative viral COVID-19 test (NAAT/PCR or antigen), or medical proof of recovery, for anyone arriving from a foreign country to the U.S. The order goes into effect Jan. 26, 2021 for ALL flights, including private flight and GA aircraft. Key points:
- U.S. Presidential Proclamations are still restricting anyone who has been to a suspended region during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. This is in effect until at least Jan 26, 2021. We are guessing this will be extended, but until the Biden Administration issues a new proclamation, Jan 26 is the expiration date.
- While the CDC is has issued guidance for a reduced quarantine time of less than 14-days, it has not yet resulted in a change to the U.S. Presidential Proclamations.
- Non-U.S. nationals needing to enter the U.S. should start their visa applications/renewals sooner than later. We’ve heard multiple accounts of U.S. Embassies in various countries being slow to process these.
- Applications for signatory carrier status under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are still being processed. All U.S.-based operators (including some international companies with U.S. subsidiaries) and non-U.S. commercial operators are eligible to apply. If you are not a signatory carrier and qualify, we recommend you apply to increase your operating flexibility. We can help.
- The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is another avenue foreign nationals can seek for entry into the U.S. and can be an effective means of entry. Allowed purposes of visit include Business, Education, Training, and Medical. Application for entry is available for the following U.S. AOEs: KLAX, KEWR, KDFW, KJFK, and KIAH, as well as through the U.S. Embassy in France and the UK. Our Global Regulatory Services team has worked out the repeatable process to apply at each of these and can provide support.
- The U.S. STEP Program is an important risk mitigation program that U.S. nationals should be using on every international trip, especially now with COVID. When the first wave hit and we saw the massive wave of lockdowns, this program helped get people on the U.S. Embassy’s evacuation list to return home. It has a whole host of other benefits like if you lose your passport or have medical issues, if there is a terrorist incident or civil unrest, etc. Our Global Regulatory Services team offers an optional, turnkey STEP Registration Service for your trips with us.
- Any operator entering the U.S. from the south should be taking advantage of the CBP’s Border Overflight Exemption (BOE) program to avoid having to make an extra stop at the first designated AOE when returning home. A BOE is good for 2 years, and it greatly increases your operational flexibility. We can take care of this for you.
- Non-U.S. charter (non-scheduled commercial) operators flying to/from the U.S. with less than 12 flights per year MUST have a DOT Part 375 Ops Permit and/or Special Authorization. Apply sooner to avoid processing delays for any upcoming operations. We can assist with your renewal or first-time application.
- The U.S. remains excluded from the EC’s Safe List (updated Dec 17). However, many European countries are still accepting U.S. flights and/or passengers under substantiated business conditions.
- Advise passengers and crew to continue maintaining a 14-day travel history log of the countries, states, and cities they visit. This is critical for both travel into the U.S., within it, and abroad.
- Restrictions on non-essential travel for USA/Canada/Mexico land borders remain in place until Feb. 21, 2021. We are in close communication with U.S. CBP for updates since this date is coming up.
- Hawaii – The pre-arrival testing program began Oct. 15, allowing visitors to bypass quarantine. Read more online. Hawaii has a specific list of approved C19 testing providers that you must use, and this supersedes the CDC pre-testing order. All travelers arriving in Hawaii are still required to have a temperature check and complete a Travel Declaration Form. U.S Presidential Proclamations restricting flights apply. People traveling interisland can find additional information and the interisland limited quarantine request by visiting county webpages. Note that each island has its own requirements and rules, so check beyond the state level. Kauai is requiring quarantining regardless of testing. They do identify some “bubble resorts” where you can roam about freely.
- Puerto Rico – Open to foreign tourism. COVID-19 test required (within 72 hours of travel); otherwise, traveler will be tested on arrival. U.S Presidential Proclamations restricting flights apply. Complete a digital Travel SAFE Declaration Form and submit at www.travelsafe.pr.gov or www.viajaseguro.pr.gov.
- USVI – International leisure hotel guests are allowed. U.S Presidential Proclamations restricting flights apply. Visit the USVI Travel Screening Portal and fill out the info requested in advance. Additional information and testing requirements available on https://usviupdate.com/. Note that these testing requirements DO apply to the crew as well per our handler. Our preferred ground handler at TIST, Standard Aviation, has parking availability and can provide air transfers to neighboring Caribbean islands.
- Alaska – A negative COVID-19 PCR test 72 hours before will exempt visitors from quarantine. They are also asking that you take a second test 5-14 days after you arrive. No test is required if the aircraft is making a tech stop/quick turn or the crew/passengers will be in Alaska less than 24hrs. Details online. U.S. crew and passengers traveling from a previously restricted area may enter the U.S. through PANC and PAFA. Passengers and crew can get off the aircraft during the tech stop but cannot leave the airport.
- Various U.S. states and cities have implemented varying degrees of quarantine and testing requirements. Enforcement is often not in effect. Please check with your Universal Trip Support team for any specific domestic restriction that may impact you, as these change rapidly.