CDC updates COVID-19 travel guidelines as more people get vaccinated

By Grace Wong Advocate Aurora Health

If you are planning on international travel soon be aware that guidelines are a little more complicated than for domestic travel.

The going gets better for those who are fully vaccinated, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released updated travel guidelines last week. The highlight? Fully vaccinated people can travel safely within the United States without fear of getting or spreading COVID-19.

Additionally, fully vaccinated travelers do not need self-quarantine or get tested before or after travel, unless their destination requires it. However, travelers should still wear a mask over their nose and mouth, stay 6 feet from others, avoid crowds and wash their hands or use hand sanitizer frequently.

“Fully vaccinated” means two weeks after a single dose vaccine or two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine, according to the CDC.

“This is exciting news for many fully vaccinated people, who are finally able to visit family and friends around the country without fear and anxiety of getting or spreading COVID-19,” said Dr. Robert CitronbergAdvocate Aurora Health executive medical director of infectious disease and prevention. “However, it’s important that we remain diligent until the pandemic is over, which means adhering to safety guidelines and encouraging others to step up when it’s their turn for the vaccine.”

Travel guidelines for international travel are a little more complicated than that of domestic travel.

“Even if you’re fully vaccinated, you could still potentially transmit the virus to someone who has not yet been vaccinated. This includes the variant strains which are rapidly spreading around the world,” Citronberg said of international travel. “In addition to being fully vaccinated, you should be mindful of where you are coming from and where you are going and take necessary precautions, like wearing a mask, social distancing and quarantining, should you display symptoms.”

Fully vaccinated people planning international travel should continue following CDC guidelines for traveling safely, which includes getting tested three to five days after travel. While fully vaccinated people do not need to get tested before leaving the United States, they must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 no more than 3 days before boarding a flight to the United States.

And while quarantine upon returning to the United States is not required, fully vaccinated people should still self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. International travelers should also be aware of the COVID-19 situation in their destination, the CDC said.

For more information on international travel for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people, visit

Check out our COVID-19 Info Center to learn more about the virus.