Tips to getting a quick COVID-19 test abroad after new travel rules go into effect

Coronavirus

AUSTIN (KXAN) — If you’re flying out of the country, or already abroad, starting Monday, you’ll need to provide a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of your departure time to be let back into the U.S., according to new federal requirements announced by the Biden administration Thursday.

Prior to these enhanced restrictions, if you were fully vaccinated, you could show a negative test within three days of returning from international travel.

Jessica Jones, a luxury travel advisor for Departure Lounge, said she reached out to some of her clients who are currently traveling in Mexico to talk to them about these changes.

“I did text them, ‘hey, you might want to adjust your testing time just in case,'” she said.

President Joe Biden’s announcement did not mention any changes regarding the type of tests accepted. The Texas Department of State Health Services is not aware of any changes on that front either. The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 travel advisory states rapid and PCR tests are still accepted.

“There have been no specifics whether its PCR or antigen,” said Jones. “Right now it’s antigen, so that’s what we’re basing it on. I think it would be really difficult to do a 24-hour PCR notice.”

She says as long as you have a plan in place, getting a rapid antigen test in another country within 24 hours of your flight isn’t as daunting as it may seem.

“Most hotels are offering it inside the hotel,” she said, adding most hotels will be able to accommodate you if you let them know at check-in that you wish to take a test on site when you leave.

“I also just came back from Mexico, and it was super simple,” she said. “I got tested at the airport, and it took 20 minutes. Between testing and sitting at the gate waiting for my plane, it was a total of an hour in Mexico City.”

The Biden administration also extended the airport mask mandate from Jan. 18 to March 18.

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