Travel requirements for vaccinated US citizens entering the EU
US citizens are allowed into most of the EU without a required 5-day quarantine. For instance, if you are traveling to Italy, a 5-day quarantine isn’t required if: 1) you have been fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine, 2) you have completed and present upon entry to Italy your EU Passenger Locator Form, 3) you have a certificate showing a negative molecular or antigenic test carried out within 72 hours prior to entry, and 4) you present your CDC Covid-19 vaccination card. US CDC approved vaccines meet EU requirements.
Types of Covid-19 tests
There two types of Covid-19 tests – diagnostic and antibody test. Diagnostic tests show if you have an active Covid-19 infection.
Molecular and antigen tests are diagnostic. Types of molecular tests are NAAT or PCR, which is a type of NAAT test. Samples are taken with a nasal or throat swab, or saliva collected from spitting in a tube. Molecular tests are typically processed by a lab and therefore take longer to get results. Antigen tests are frequently referred to as “rapid tests” and can be processed almost anywhere. Results are normally available within 15 – 30 minutes. Antigen tests rarely yield a false positive. However, for entry into other countries and returning to the US, antigen tests must be medically supervised.
Antibody tests look for antibodies in your immune system. Antibody tests are not used to diagnose an active Covid infection. Antibodies develop in response to a Covid-19 infection and take days or weeks after infection to develop. Antibody tests are done from blood samples.
Bottom line: Although they sound similar, antigen and antibody tests are NOT the same. Antigen tests show if you are currently infected. Antibody tests show if your immune system has produced antibodies in response to a Covid-19 infection.
Covid-19 test requirements to enter other countries
To enter many countries, you must present a certification of a negative molecular or antigen test. The key requirement is a certification of a negative test. Home tests DO NOT qualify since they are not supervised by a medical professional.
Doctor office, pharmacy & testing centers
Covid-19 tests are widely available from your doctor, most major pharmacy chains, and area clinics. Check prices in advance. There have been news articles about the lab CVS has used charging some customers high fees after they received their test.
Several airports also offer antigen testing. However, make sure you schedule an appointment in advance and have sufficient time to get the results before checking-in.
The antigen test is the fastest test with results in 15 – 30 minutes and satisfies most countries Covid-19 testing entry requirements.
Tests are in limited supply. Most pharmacies offer online reservations to save a spot, so you don’t have to scramble at the last minute.
Get current Covid-19 entry requirements
We use a website which also is used by several airlines to keep our clients current on Covid-19 entry requirements of foreign countries. Here is the link. On the Sherpa site you can find out all the requirements to enter a country directly or through a transit connection. Be sure to go through the site carefully and completely. Be sure to list your starting country, whether you’ve been vaccinated, and any transit connections. This site is updated continuously. The requirements are in a constant state of flux.
Green Pass while in the EU
Some countries at starting to allow US citizens to go to local pharmacies, get tested, and then be issued the countries’ version of the EU Green Pass. This will be useful as some countries now require the Green Pass or US CDC card to enter bars, restaurants, museums, and most other public places. The tests are normally the rapid antigen test with results in 15 – 30 minutes. Where this is allowed, you’ll get an email with your results and a link to generate a QR code that you can display on your smart phone to gain entrance to establishments.
Returning the to the US
To return US, you must have a negative nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) or antigen test. The test must include remote supervision from manufacturer through a video call on a smartphone or laptop or be given in person by a medical professional. You can do this test in your hotel.
The Abbott Binax COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test with eMed Telehealth Services is accepted for return to the US. This test is accepted by United, American and Delta airlines for entry back to the US. This test is an antigen diagnostic test. Two pack costs $69.66. They must be ordered directly from eMed. Most over the counter tests from local pharmacies are not approved. This test is an antigen diagnostic test. Two pack costs $69.66. They must be ordered directly from eMed. Most over the counter tests from local pharmacies are not approved. This test is only valid for returning to the US. It is not accepted for entry into foreign countries.
Also, a negative antigen test certificate from a foreign pharmacy is also acceptable. The tests must be within 72 hours of arrival in the US.
Check foreign entry requirements in advance
Be sure to check the entry requirements for the country/countries you will be visiting and transiting through. These requirements change frequently and with little notice. Use this site to determine to current requirements.
Failure to comply will likely bar you from boarding your flight and/or entering the country.
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