On Sunday, the Biden administration will remove the Covid-19 testing requirement for inbound international air travellers, putting an end to one of the pandemic’s longest-running travel restrictions.
The rule, implemented by the Trump administration in early 2021 and later tightened by the Biden administration, most recently required inbound travellers, including U.S. citizens, to show proof of a negative Covid test a day before boarding domestic flights. Travelers entering the United States through land border crossings were exempt.
The change will take effect on Sunday at 12:01 a.m. ET.
Airlines and other members of the travel industry had repeatedly urged the administration to repeal the requirement, claiming it was harming demand for international travel. The travel industry has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic.
Previously, other countries, including the United Kingdom, had abandoned Covid testing entry rules.
According to a senior Biden administration official, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will reconsider the decision in 90 days.
Throughout the pandemic, the travel industry clashed with both the Biden and Trump administrations over policies aimed at limiting the spread of Covid-19, including a strict ban on most foreign visitors to the United States, which was eventually lifted in November. Most noncitizen visitors to the United States will still be required to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination before flying to the country, according to a White House spokesman.
Separately, in April, a Trump-appointed federal judge overturned another contentious rule aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19: the Biden administration’s federal mandate requiring travellers to wear masks on planes and other modes of public transportation.