A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration lawyer. We serve clients in all U.S. states and overseas countries. (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

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Friday, December 30, 2022

New COVID requirements for travelers from China effective Jan. 5, 2023


The CDC of the United States has announced new COVID requirements for travelers from China. Starting January 5, 2023, all passengers departing from China, Hong Kong and Macau to the United States must provide a negative COVID test or recovery certificate. The new rule was implemented to slow down the re-spread of COVID-19 in the United States in response to the recent surge in the number of cases in China. Here are some key takeaways from the new announcement:

Effective Date: January 5, 2023 (12:01AM ET)

Affected Travelers:  The passengers of all flights arriving in the U.S. departing from China, Hong Kong and Macau must comply with the new regulations.

Transit Travelers: It also applies to passengers departing from China and transiting to the United States through a third country or transiting through the United States to other countries. It also applies to passengers traveling to the U.S. via South Korea's Incheon International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport if the traveler has traveled to China ten days before arriving in the U.S.

Passenger age: The new rule applies to all passengers aged two or over, regardless of nationality. 

Vaccinated travelers: The new rules apply to all, regardless of vaccination status.

Passenger Nationality: The new rules apply to all passengers, regardless of nationality.

US Permanent Residents or Citizens: The new rules also apply to US Permanent Residents or Citizens returning to the United States. 

Testing requirements: All passengers must provide a negative PCR test result or antigen self-test result within two days before departure. Passengers may use an antigen self-test administered by a telehealth service or licensed provider and authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or relevant state agency.

Documentation of recovery: Passengers who tested positive more than 10 days before flight departure may provide documentation of recovery in lieu of a negative test result.

Airline Responsibilities: Airlines are required to confirm negative test results or recovery documents for all boarding passengers. If a passenger does not comply with the requirements, the airline has the right to deny the passenger boarding. Passengers should communicate with their airline in advance to avoid misunderstanding.

The Biden Administration will continue to monitor travel patterns and adjust the scope of the requirements as needed. CDC will issue a more detailed official order to implement the new restrictions.

Therefore, passengers who intend to come to the United States from China should plan ahead to ensure a smooth boarding. Updates will be posted accordingly. 

(Immigration laws and policies change regularly.  If you have any questions regarding this article, please visit www.1visa1.com to schedule a legal consultation.)  

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