The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Friday that, as of June 12, international travelers will no longer be required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test before entering the United States.
For months, the airline and travel businesses have lobbied the Biden administration to soften the regulations for fully vaccinated travelers, claiming that doing so would create $2 billion in monthly travel exports alone.
The White House has gone a step further and will no longer require any passenger, regardless of immunization status, to perform a pre-departure test. The decision was made “based on research,” according to a CDC representative.
The US has stood out among its peers by requiring travelers to show documentation of a negative COVID-19 test before traveling internationally. All travelers aged two and up were needed to get a negative test within one day of departure.
The CDC said it would reassess the situation after 90 days and “continue to evaluate” the policy on an ongoing basis. “If there is a need to reinstate a pre-departure testing requirement – including due to a new, concerning variant – CDC will not hesitate to act,” the statement continued.
Last month, travel industry leaders met with administration officials at the White House, where they pressed for the rules to be softened once more.
Pre-departure testing was “no longer matched with the current epidemiological environment,” according to a trade association that represents American Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines.
“Science has shown time and time again that the pre-departure testing requirement is not effective and is not stopping or even slowing the spread of COVID,” the trade group Airlines for America said.
“For months, our industry has urged Washington to sunset this pandemic-era policy, which continues to harm our nation’s economy and hinder air travel to the U.S.”
The absence of pre-departure testing, according to the US Travel Association, could raise inbound tourist numbers by 20% this summer. According to the lobbying group, the increase in overseas tourists will sustain up to 40,000 American jobs.