Can I Use a Proctored COVID Test To Meet Travel Requirements?
If traveling internationally, you may need to add COVID-testing to your list. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has faded somewhat from public attention, several places in the world require a negative COVID-19 test before you can cross their borders.
As more and more people are vaccinated and the prevalence of COVID-19 infections has declined, more people are feeling confident in their safety and in taking that overseas trip they planned in 2019.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following requirements apply to people traveling to the United States (updated Dec. 30, 2022). You must show a negative COVID-19 test if you are traveling:
- From China, Hong Kong, or Macau, or have been in these areas in the past ten days.
- From Seoul, Toronto, and Vancouver and have been to China, Hong Kong, and Macau in the past ten days.
The COVID-19 test must be completed within two days of when your flight leaves. If you have had COVID-19 in the past three months, in lieu of a COVID-19 test, you can show documentation that you have recovered from your illness.
If you are traveling from the United States, you should consider getting a viral test for COVID-19 no more than three days before travel. It is important to note that these travel requirements are expected to change based on the prevalence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus worldwide.
Can At-home COVID-19 Tests Meet Travel Requirements?
To meet the travel requirements, passengers must be tested with a viral test. Either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) will meet the requirements. The test must be authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the authority in the country where the test is completed.
Rapid tests are permitted and can be completed at home if they meet the following requirements:
- The test must be a SARS-CoV-2 viral test.
- The test must be supervised (proctored) by the telehealth service associated with the manufacturer of the test, and they must confirm the test results and issue a report.
- Airline personnel must be able to review and confirm your identity and the test results.
Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for full details and the most current requirements.
What Is a Proctored COVID-19 Test?
A proctored or supervised test is one in which the person taking the test is identified and supervised while taking the COVID-19 test. Supervision occurs remotely through an audio and video connection.
The telehealth provider must:
- Confirm the person’s identity.
- Observe the specimen collection and testing procedures.
- Confirm the test results.
- Issue a report.
The report must include the following:
- Type of test
- Telehealth service provides supervision and report
- Specimen collection date
- Details to confirm the test taker’s identity
- Test results
How Does a Proctored Test Work?
The process for taking a proctored test is similar to making an online appointment to get a doctor’s note online.
An appointment for a doctor’s note and a proctored COVID-19 test both:
- Require forms of identification.
- Video and audio to confirm your identity, evaluate your symptoms or supervise your COVID-19 test.
- End with official documentation, either a doctor’s note or a COVID-19 test result report.
- Having timing requirements that may be important.
- Have legal requirements.
- Are easily handled by online telehealth providers.
- Are required to provide evidence that you are healthy.
Can a Telehealth COVID Test Work for Travel?
It depends on the requirements for your COVID-19 test. Suppose it stipulates that the telehealth appointment must be done by the telehealth company associated with the test. In that case, that requirement must be met.
If the requirements state that your test must be proctored by a healthcare provider who can document the results and that the test was completed correctly, then telehealth is a great option.
Why Should I Use a Telehealth COVID-19 Test for Travel?
Having a proctored COVID-19 test supervised by a remote doctor may be the safest and most convenient option.
Telehealth COVID-19 test benefits:
- May meet travel requirements
- Avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19 by traveling to a doctor’s office
- Testing in the comfort of your home
- Saves time
- Test report emailed or faxed to you
While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.