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COVID-19 Testing for Travel – March Update

COVID-19 Testing for Travel – March Update

Good Morning and a very happy Thursday to you! I have some friends currently visiting us from the states and they had some interesting stories to tell about their airport experiences. One of them told me that people were actually being turned away from boarding their American Airlines flight to St. Thomas in Philadelphia for not having the proper documentation in regards to COVID testing and the USVI Travel Portal. Another said that some passengers arriving on their Delta flight in St. Thomas had no idea that they needed any documentation and were being pulled aside and delayed in their disembarkation process in order to get tested and fill out the documentation on site.

So, I wanted to do a quick update about testing requirements in order to travel to the USVI. For some of you readers who follow along every day, I apologize for the redundancy of this update (But, there is some info on the Travel Portal that you might find useful!). For those of you reading about this for the first time, I hope it’s helpful and contributes to a seamless travel day for you!

COVID-19 Testing for Travel - March Update 1

First, I want to get a couple of answers out there to the questions I have been receiving:

I have my vaccination card with proof of my second shot. Do I still need to provide a negative test result to enter the USVI?

The answer is YES. Everyone, visitor and resident, vaccinated or not, age five or older, MUST provide a negative COVID-19 test or positive antibodies result in order to enter the territory at any airport or seaport (Please see below for acceptable tests).

Do I need a test to return back to the states?

The answer is MAYBE. It depends on which state you are returning to.

COVID-19 Testing for Travel - March Update 2

The following states have their own mandates about testing for travel. The following information comes from a USA Today Article that I have referenced in the past and was updated on March 8. Please refer to the article to review updated information about returning to your home state.

Connecticut

Hawaii

Illinois (Chicago Only)

Maine

Massachusetts

New Hampshire

New York

Puerto Rico

Rhode Island

Vermont

Washington DC

If you do need to obtain a COVID-19 test to return home, please call the Department of Health’s COVID-19 hotline (340-776-1519) to find a pop-up testing site or local provider that best corresponds with your departure time.

Ok- now on to the arrival information. My friend who encountered the folks being turned away at the gate in Philly shared her Travel Portal Experience with me so I can share it step by step with all of you!

Get a test within days of commencement of travel:

  • A negative COVID-19 Molecular (PCR) or Antigen (Rapid) test administered within five days of commencement of travel.
  • A positive COVID-19 Antibody test administered within four months of commencement of travel.

COVID-19 Testing for Travel - March Update 3

Once you receive your results, go to the USVI Travel Portal and upload your results. ALL passengers in your party must submit the travel portal as individuals unless they are under the age of five.

You should only complete the Travel Screening Portal once your acceptable test result is available. Your portal submission can only be completed within five days of travel. – USVI Travel Portal

COVID-19 Testing for Travel - March Update 4

You will be prompted to fill out a traveler information form and then upload your test results. Once the portal has been completed you will receive an email notifying you of your completed submission. Next, you will receive an ORANGE QR code via email notifying you that your results are in process. And finally, you will receive a third email with a GREEN QR code. The green code should arrive within 48 hours of submission and THAT is your golden ticket onto the flight. I would advise that you also bring a printed copy of your test results!

Each of the three emails will give you a tracking ID that you can use to log into the portal and track the process of the results. I have heard that there have been some recent delays with the portal. If you have not received your green QR code within 48 hours of your submission, call the Department of Tourism’s information hotline at 1-800-372-8784 and have your tracking ID handy when you do so.

I do want to extend some compliments to the Department of Health, local volunteers and providers and the Department of Tourism for making this process so efficient in protecting both the lives and the livelihoods of the residents here. Reports from the airport are that if you have your travel portal and test results ready to go, the process if very easy and efficient.

COVID-19 Testing for Travel - March Update 5

Additionally, we go to the pop-up testing every week just as a precautionary action. Yesterday, they had a new online portal in order to go through the process and we had our negative test results emailed to us before we even drove the five minutes home from the gravel lot!

Please remember when traveling to the USVI that we are one of the very few Caribbean destinations that remain open to tourism and that these restrictions have allowed us to remain that way. So, come on down and enjoy the views and the vibe. But take a test and wear your mask while our government works to get a majority of the population vaccinated! We are so close to some kind of normal…And that feels great 🙂

COVID-19 Testing for Travel - March Update 6

27 thoughts on “COVID-19 Testing for Travel – March Update”

  1. “Get a test within 72 hours of commencement of travel:”
    That is not correct – you know better than that!
    It’s 5 days (not including day of travel). You might want to correct your typo ASAP!

  2. Two friends literally just boarded their flight from Miami . One had the green code , the other had an orange code . They let the one with the orange code onto the plane but not without some major stress /drama . I wonder what he will experience on the ground in STT . Any insight would be appreciated.

  3. Friends literally just boarded their flight in Miami . One had the Green QR code and the other an orange . Not sure of the details but they let the orange code board . Any insight into what will happen on the ground in STT with an orange code ?

  4. We had challenges in February.

    Upon check in at our (small) local airport, Harrisburg International, the American agent kept telling me that our tests weren’t within the USVI requirements. I kept my cool and showed him our portal approvals and was just about to show him the portal calendar picture when another agent came over and said “they are fine, print their boarding passes.”

    We had to show our test results and approvals again upon boarding our CLT layover.

    We were first off the plane in STT and it was a breeze. We were directed to a National Guardsman, who scanned our codes and sent us on our way.

    I would strongly recommend having everything printed out. CLT was sort of chaos because people were fumbling with their phones to show test results.

    The agent in Harrisburg was just doing his job and said we were the first people he checked in under the new guidelines.

  5. We returned last Tuesday from two weeks on St. John. One thing I would recommend is to use local rapid tests rather than the “At home” express ship tests offered by Let’s Get Tested or Quest. Both sets of tests got stuck in transit and were not timely to our needs. Fortunately, it was very easy to get appointments in CT for rapid tests. We waited 15 minutes for a printout of results so they could be uploaded to USVI and CT travel portals.

  6. If it takes up to 48 hrs to get your Green Code, you obviously cannot get your C-19 test results any later than three days prior to departure. No earlier than 5 days, no later than 3 days (to ensure you have your Green Code). That’s a pretty darn tight window!

  7. Hi,
    In your brief it states a positive COVID 19 Antibody test. So, if someone had COVID within four months of travel they could bring that?
    I apologize in advance if this question has been asked.
    Thanks.

  8. Dave’s point above is spot on! I hope they can turn these around faster than 48 hours, or I’ll potentially be waiting for the Green Code as I head to the airport.

    I understand the rigor and protocol, but the 5 days prior to departure is really a challenge given the downstream testing results and submission timing.

  9. Two week ago American out of Chicago insisted it was a 3 day window. My partner at another check in desk breezed through…. I had to insist on a supervisor to get on the flight. The attendant was only doing what she thought was correct. Confusing time for everyone.. but do print out everything and have it handy.

  10. Thanks for the updates – so very helpful.
    Just as an FYI to folks too about “Reef Safe sunblock”.
    I just bought a product off Amazon – Solino – . Very much more reasonable than some of the products you see out there. Nice texture, not heavy, almost no fragrance (important to me), large size bottles, no small tubes. Ingredients up to par (or lack of them !).
    6 bottles +1 (50)- not even $30.
    Let’s hope it works !!!

    • Pam, I can’t find anything by that brand on Amazon. What were the active ingredients? It would be very uncommon to find truly reef safe products for that low of a price (the reef safe ingredients simply cost more).

    • I can’t find anything with that name?

      That would be an extremely low price for reef safe sunblock. Did you confirm that the only active ingredients are zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide?

      Oxybenzone. octocrylene and octinoxate are all banned in the USVI.

  11. Hillary, somewhat unrelated but can you tell me about a beach that I believe recently opened next to Hansen’s beach? Thanks.

  12. Well, with some states taking away the mask mandate, prepare for it to be harder to board a plane. And harder to get a negative test result if you don’t still wear a mask. Wear a mask if you don’t want to test positive & want to get on a plane anytime soon. It’s not political. It is the right thing to do.

  13. I agree Dave, They are not clear the it takes 48 hours to approve. I am supposed to board a flight at 7 am tomorrow and have not received my orange or green code yet. I submitted my results yesterday at 9 am. I am stressing right now!!! I would’ve tested on the 1st day if I’d know this was the case.

  14. Had to submit my negative test results SEVEN times since the results form was 3 pages long and the word “negative” was on page 3 not in the header of the first page. My travel companion had same issues from a different lab when his name and birth date wasn’t in the header. Leave time for this! The night before our flight we finally got our green QR codes !!

  15. We just got back from 16 days in St John. We left through LAX. I had printed 3 copies of our results and had to provide them at LAX, Miami and when we landed in St. Thomas. We were about 25 deep off the plane but since we had ours printed they pulled us right out of line and sent us through. Other passengers were all scrolling though their phones trying to find it and holding up all the lines. If you phone does not work on the islands you are screwed. they were not allowing anyone to even board in LAX or Miami without a green QR code. There were words yelled at the gates by passengers, cussing etc. to avoid all of this just print them out for each layover.
    Please be respectful to airline stewardesses and those in St. Thomas when you disembark, they do not deserve to be treated poorly when they are only doing their jobs. They didn’t make the rules they are only following them.
    The portal is super easy. I got my orange code and less than 2 hours later I got the green code. If you get a red code go back you may not have finished the upload and try again. You can not log into the same portal if you get red code you have to start over and it only takes a couple minutes.

  16. Has anyone used results from a Covid-19 antibody test? I have the antibodies and a letter from our blood bank that did the test. My only worry is the letter only provides my name, address and donor ID. Should it have additional identifying information like date of birth or social?

  17. Just an FYI, at 48 hours we had not received our green QR code so I emailed the address at the bottom of the submission received email and voila we received our green QRCodes in 3 minutes. The line at the airport moved quickly and the staff were very friendly and helpful.

  18. I wish to reiterate what Paula Willis asked a couple of days ago

    Has anyone used results from a Covid-19 antibody test to enter USVI? It seems the Antibody test with Positive results eliminates the anxiety of trying to get tested within the 5 day window. In Houston it takes 5 minutes for the Antibody test and results are emailed within the hour. Cost $75.
    Also, thanks to everyone for posting their comments.

  19. Lots of confirmation in these comments that the decision by my wife and me to cancel our St John trip the first week of March and head to the Big Bend parks in southwest Texas for hiking and sightseeing was a great choice. Covid testing is way too much hassle to deal with when other terrific vacation options are available. We’ll be back in Coral Bay when some semblance of normality returns.

  20. Someone commented for you to update your info to show get tested within 5 days instead of 3. Just FYI, we’re flying American Airlines and while it may be 5 days for USVI protocols it’s actually within 3 days for the airline so please check with your airline as well!!!! Hope we all get to paradise safely!

  21. 1. Do you need antibodies and neg covid test or either or?
    2. Do they test you again once you go on the island?
    3. Do you have to quarantine once you get there?

  22. Thank you for uploading this information! Do you know if rapid test results that are completed at a CVS, Rite Aid, or Walgreens accepted?

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