COVID Testing For Travel- CDC Updates

COVID Testing For Travel- CDC Updates

Good Morning!  I have seen a ton of posts and received multiple messages in regards to the CDC’s changes in in0ternational travel protocols as they pertain to COVID-19 and the arrival of yet another new strain of the virus.  To ease your mind quickly, the USVI is NOT an international travel destination.  Which means the new rules do not pertain to travel between the USVI and the United States.  So, take a deep breath 🙂  However, it DOES apply to travel from the British Virgin Islands to the US or USVI…

Last week, the CDC announced that international travel requirements had changed.  “Starting December 6, all (international) air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, must show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 1 day before travel to the United States.”

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Again, this does not pertain to travel into the US from the US Virgin Islands.  This was confirmed in the Governor’s weekly press briefing yesterday.  Unless your destination (state) in the US requires some kind of testing protocol to be followed, you do not need to worry about getting tested here in order to return home.  For a list of state by state travel policies, please visit USA Today for a list of all travel regulations by state (Last updated December 7, 2021).

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If you DO want to get tested while you are here, just to be cautious about traveling and carrying the virus, there is a free pop-up test at the gravel lot near the tennis courts every Wednesday afternoon until about 3:45PM.

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The team at the gravel lot on Wednesdays is very efficient and friendly! (Photo: St. John Source)

But, you do not need those test results in order to travel home.  Some people have received notice from their airlines about getting tested before returning to the states.  Well, we all know that the airlines can make mistakes too!  If you received an email from your air carrier, simply call them to clarify that you are not traveling internationally if you need to ease your mind.  I assure you that the gate agents at the St. Thomas airport will understand that you don’t need to provide a test result to board your flight.

You do, however, still need to follow the testing protocols to enter the USVI from the states.  Nothing has changed in regards to the testing policies that have been in place for the past year or so.

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Unless you were fully vaccinated IN the USVI you still need to do the following:

  • All persons, aged five and older, entering the territory from the US must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or Rapid Test) administered within 5 days of commencement of travel to the USVI.  This applies to residents and visitors alike unless the resident was fully vaccinated in the territory.
  • Upload your results to the USVI travel portal as soon as you receive them.
  • You should receive your green QR code from the portal within 48 hours.  That is what you will need to present on St. Thomas in order to clear through security.

I know, we are ALL tired of this COVID stuff!  I get it!  But, this is the world we are living in right now and the whole process in order to travel into the territory is pretty painless.  I just flew back after spending Thanksgiving with my family and I had the QR code within 36 hours of submitting to the travel portal.  And disembarking on St. Thomas was a breeze!  The National Guard and Health Department team were working so quickly that there was barely a wait.  And all I had to show them was my ID and the QR Code on my phone.  Easy as pumpkin pie 🙂

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The clearance process is expedited and easy at the St. Thomas airport!  Have the QR code pulled up on your phone and your ID in hand as you disembark the airplane.

Now, if you are planning to fly or ferry into the British Virgin Islands, you will need to test within one day of returning to the states (or the USVI for that matter).  Because the BVI IS an international destination, even though we often feel as if we are a part of the same entity.  Currently, boat charters on commercial vessels (paid guests) are still not allowed into the BVI from the USVI.  However, travel to the BVI from the USVI via ferry or airplane is allowed.  For up to date information on traveling to the BVI from the USVI or the US, please keep an eye on their travel guidance.

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BVI Ferry Schedule for December

But I’ll be doing a bit more of an update on that next week 🙂

I hope that this is helpful and eases your minds a bit when it comes to these new International travel policies.  Please always keep in mind that the USVI is a part of the United States and the International travel rulings do not apply to us.  If anything changes on this end, I’ll be the first to let you know!

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6 thoughts on “COVID Testing For Travel- CDC Updates”

  1. Hillary-We’re traveling to St. John the end of February. When we do the Travel Portal can we get the code in the form of an e-mail & print off?

  2. We learned today (12/7/2021) from the Chief Medical Officer of the BVI, Dr. Ronald Georges, that the BVI will now accept results from the Abbott BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test with eMed Telehealth Services for vaccinated travelers who wish to enter the BVI. This is a self-test that is guided through an on-line (video) session with a health care provider.

    Travelers can save time and the $50 cost of having a test upon arrival if they test within 48 hours of arrival in the BVI.

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