COVID Domestic Travel Restrictions By State & International Travel Guidelines

The CDC reported 41.5 million cases of Covid-19 by the middle of September 2021. Despite high rates of community transmission in every US state and territory, schools and businesses have reopened and many people have resumed traveling for leisure. There are few remaining travel restrictions for domestic US travelers. Here, we discuss what restrictions you can expect by state, as well as where you can find the latest local travel guidance.

US Domestic travel COVID restrictions by state

Last Updated: 10/14/2021

Every US state follows the CDC’s recommendations for travel, such as wearing a mask on public transport, planes, trains, and buses, frequently washing hands, and delaying travel before you are fully vaccinated. These guidelines aim to protect travelers around you, employees at the airport and beyond, and most importantly help prevent the spread of the virus.

In addition to the CDC’s recommendations, states also publish their own state-specific guidelines that travelers should be aware of before they go.

CDC Travel Restrictions for Domestic Travel, Explained

The CDC’s travel guidance differs depending on whether the travel is vaccinated or unvaccinated.

Vaccinated travelers

  • Should wear a mask when in large crowds, especially in areas where the levels of community transmission are high
  • Should follow the health and safety guidelines at their destination
  • Should wear a mask on all transportation during transit
  • Should get tested for Covid-19 only if they develop flu-like symptoms

Unvaccinated travelers

  • Should postpone travel plans until getting fully vaccinated
  • Should get a viral Covid-19 test 1 – 3 days before their trip
  • Should stay socially distant as much as possible during transit and wash hands frequently
  • Should get tested after their trip and self-quarantine for 7 days OR self-quarantine for 10 days if they do not get tested
  • May want to consider safer travel options, such as traveling on a shorter flight or with a personal vehicle on a road trip.

The CDC’s free Travel Planner can help you find destination-specific answers quickly, such as whether there is a mask mandate in place, restrictions on gathering size, and more.

California

  • Population: 39.5 m
  • COVID Cases: 3.7 m
  • Deaths: 64 k
  • COVID Tests: 71 m
  • Vaccinated: 20 m

California is currently fully open for domestic travelling, although it’s recommended to get a viral test and quarantine between 7 and 10 days after visiting the state if you haven’t been vaccinated.

  • Vaccination or negative PCR test is not required to enter the state
  • No current restrictions on air travel to California from within the United States
  • All international air passengers to the U.S. are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery
  • All California attractions and service providers are permitted to be open for business, without restrictions, except in the case of “mega” events (5k people indoors and 10k people outdoors)

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Hawaii

  • Population: 1.5 m
  • COVID Cases: 38 k
  • Deaths: 520
  • COVID Tests: 1.1 m
  • Vaccinated: 750 k
  • Travelers vaccinated in the U.S. are permitted to skip quarantine without getting a COVID test prior to traveling to Hawaii.
  • Travelers who do not get properly tested, or who have not been vaccinated in accordance with the current vaccine exemptions have to self-quarantine for 10 days.
  • For those who do not qualify for an existing vaccine exemption, there is a pre-travel testing option that will allow travelers an alternative, allowing them to bypass Hawaii’s quarantine restrictions, as long as they bring along proof of a negative COVID-19 test from a state-approved trusted testing partner.
  • Inter-island restrictions have now officially ended between all islands

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Washington D.C.

  • Population: 700 k
  • COVID Cases: 41 k
  • Deaths: 1 k
  • COVID Tests: 1.2 m
  • Vaccinated: 376 k
  • Fully Vaccinated Visitors (or visitors who tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous 90 days) may travel to DC from domestic locations without quarantining unless showing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Unvaccinated visitors don’t need a COVID-19 test if  traveling from Maryland and Virginia or if you’re in DC less than 24 hours.
  • COVID-19 testing & quarantining requirements for non-essential travel requires getting a COVID-19 test 1-3 days before visiting DC.
  • If a traveler tests positive while in DC, they must complete their isolation before traveling home, and susceptible close contacts must complete a 10-day quarantine.
  • Starting Friday, June 11 all capacity restrictions in DC were lifted and the city became 100% reopen.

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Puerto Rico

  • Population: 3.2 m
  • COVID Cases: 101 k
  • Deaths: 2 k
  • COVID Tests: 400 k
  • Vaccinated: 1.8 m
  • Fully vaccinated travelers to this US commonwealth island must upload their vaccination card to the island’s online portal, which will generate a QR code.
  • Nonvaccinated travelers on domestic flights must have a negative result from a Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival.
  • If you come without a test, you must test with 48 hours of arrival and quarantine pending results.

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Rhode Island

  • Population: 1 m
  • COVID Cases: 128 k
  • Deaths: 2.5 k
  • COVID Tests: 3 m
  • Vaccinated: 642 k
  • Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to quarantine if it’s been at least 14 days since your final vaccine, and you have not showed symptoms of Covid-19 before traveling to Rhode Island.
  • Unvaccinated domestic travelers must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival or show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival if coming from a state considered a “hot spot.”
  • Unvaccinated international travelers must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. Quarantine time can be shortened to seven days if you receive a negative Covid-19 test at least five days after you’ve arrived.

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International Travel COVID Restrictions

Last Update: 10/14/2021

People who plan to travel internationally during the pandemic should be aware that every country has different Covid testing requirements and travel restrictions. You can find the latest country-by-country requirements at the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

CDC International Travel COVID Restrictions, Explained

How to enter the US if you’re a citizen

US citizens, lawful permanent residents, and other individuals who meet certain requirements seeking re-entry into the US may do so regardless of what country they are travelling from. All travelers must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test result or proof of recovery from the virus.

Travelers should follow the recommended CDC guidance after international travel. As with domestic travel, this guidance differs for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

Vaccinated individuals

  • Should get tested with a viral RNA test 3 – 5 days after returning from overseas (regardless of whether or not they have symptoms)
  • Should follow local health and safety guidance (eg. mask wearing, staying socially distant, etc,.)

Unvaccinated individuals

  • Should self-isolate for 7 days after returning AND get tested within 3 – 5 days OR self-isolate for 10 days if they choose not to get tested
  • Should avoid close contact with anyone who is at a higher risk of complications from Covid, such as the elderly or immunocompromised individuals
  • Should follow local health and safety guidance (eg. mask wearing, staying socially distant, etc,.)

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers should self-monitor for symptoms of Covid-19 regardless of whether or not they get tested.

How to leave the US if you’re a citizen

The CDC recommends that travelers avoid international travel unless they are fully vaccinated. Getting vaccinated helps reduce the risk of getting or spreading Covid-19. Individuals traveling overseas should also determine whether or not their destination country requires proof of vaccination and/or negative Covid test result, as well as what types of tests are acceptable. Failure to do so may result in the traveler getting turned away at the gate.

People who are planning a trip overseas should first consult the latest Travel Recommendations By Destination. This guide evaluates the risk of Covid-19 exposure in a given country based on predetermined criteria and data from the World Health Organization and credible health data sources globally, then categorizes all countries on a five-tier rating system. Knowing the latest travel recommendations can help travelers weigh the current state of Covid-19 at their destination and make the most informed decision about their travel plans based on current data.

How to enter the US if you’re a non-citizen

Immigrant and non-immigrant non-citizens traveling from select countries within a 14-day period of attempted travel to the US are currently prohibited from entering the country, with some exceptions. All other travelers must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test result or proof of recovery.

Travelers prohibited from entry include those traveling from:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Italy
  • Iran
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Monaco
  • San Marino
  • United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)
  • Vatican City

Resources:

  1. https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/us-state-travel-restrictions-covid-19/index.html
  2. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/healthdirectories/healthdepartments.html
  4. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/10/travel/state-travel-restrictions.html
  5. https://covidtracking.com/data

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Staying Safe Before, During, And After Travel

Although the countries above are designated as safe places to travel during Covid, it is always best to exercise some caution before, during, and after travel.

  • If you are fully vaccinated, you are not required to test before and after arriving from international travel unless needed at your destination country.
  • If you are not fully vaccinated, testing before and after travel can reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 to your loved ones and ensure you take appropriate and timely treatment measures.

Drip Hydration offers a wide range of in-home rapid and standard Covid-19 tests to give you peace of mind before and after you travel. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe by testing for Covid-19 in the convenience of your home. To find out if our in-home Covid-19 testing service is available in your area, please give us a call or book an appointment using the button below.

Simplify Travel Testing With In-Home Appointments

Some airports offer testing at the terminal, and you can always get rapid tests at select locations in your city. If you want to save yourself the hassle, Drip Hydration offers in-home rapid PCR tests with results available in just under two hours. We recommend testing before and after travel to ensure the safety of your loved ones. In-home tests are a fast and convenient way to get a Covid test for travel so you can move ahead with your travel plans or resume your daily activities when you return.

If you are not pressed for time, we have in-home standard PCR testing with results available in one or two business days. Although not recommended for travel, we also offer antigen and antibody tests for individuals who want to get test results for reasons other than traveling.

Please give us a call or book an appointment using the button below to learn more about getting an in-home Covid test for travel and availability in your area.



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