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!
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.
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.
Illinois (Chicago Only)
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.
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
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.
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 🙂