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Which Covid-19 Tests Are Required For International Travel?

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How does COVID-19 PCR testing work?

Are you traveling abroad during this season? Do you know that you must show proper Covid-19 test results before boarding an international flight or entering a new country? Yes, indeed, these rules still apply when you are flying.  However, which COVID-19 tests are required for international travel? Before discussing that, let’s get a glance through a few basics. 

What is a Covid 19 Test?

COVID-19 testing entails analyzing samples to determine the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the present or past. The two main types of tests detect the presence of the virus or antibodies produced in response to infection. Molecular tests for a viral fact are used to diagnose individual cases and to help public health officials track down and contain outbreaks. Antibody tests, on the other hand, reveal whether or not a person has ever had the disease. They are less helpful in diagnosing current infections because antibodies may not develop for weeks after infection. It is used to assess disease prevalence, which aids in the estimation of infection fatality rates.

What Types Of Covid-19 Tests Are There?

There are currently three types of COVID-19 tests:

1. Molecular Test 

2. Antigen Test 

3. Antibody Test 

Covid-19 Molecular Test

The COVID-19 molecular test is used to help diagnose a current infection with the novel coronavirus. 

Molecular tests employ specific probes to detect the presence of the novel coronavirus’s genetic material. Many molecular tests can detect multiple viral genes rather than just one to improve accuracy.

Most molecular tests use a nasal or throat swab to collect a sample. Furthermore, some molecular tests can also take a saliva sample obtained by having you spit into a tube.

When Should I Expect To See My Results?

Turnaround time for molecular tests can vary. Using some point-of-care tests, for example, results can arrive in 15 to 45 minutes. With samples being sent to a lab, the turnaround time can range from 1 to 3 days. If you are seeking COVID-19 tests for international travel, browse your options before choosing the turnaround time. 

Rapid Antigen Test

The antigen test, like the molecular test, can help to determine whether you currently have COVID-19. This type of test is also known as a COVID-19 rapid test. An antigen test detects specific viral markers known as antigens. If the test detects new coronavirus antigens, the antibodies used in the antigen test will bind to them, resulting in a positive result. An antigen test typically has a shorter turnaround time than a molecular test. It may take up to 30 minutes to receive your RT-PCR test results.

Antibody Test

Antibody tests can help determine if you’ve previously had COVID-19. This type of test is also known as a serology test or serological test. Antibody tests look for antibodies specific to the novel coronavirus in your blood. Antibodies are proteins produced by your immune system in response to infections or vaccinations.

It takes 1 to 3 weeks for your body to begin producing antibodies. As a result, unlike the two viral tests discussed above, antibody tests cannot aid in the diagnosis of current infection with the novel coronavirus. You can receive your results somewhere between one to three days. 

Which Covid-19 tests are required for international travel?

It majorly depends on where you are going in the first place. Many countries are requiring incoming travelers to show a recent negative test to limit the spread of the coronavirus variants.

The United States, for example, will accept results from either a test that detects the virus’s genetic material — considered the most sensitive type of test — or a rapid test that looks for viral proteins known as antigens. The tests had to be completed no more than three days before leaving for the United States.

More sensitive lab tests are typically administered via nasal swabs and take a day or more to produce results. Rapid PCR testing, which have a turnaround time of 15 to 30 minutes, are increasingly being used to screen people at testing sites, offices, schools, and nursing homes. 

What Are The Entry Requirements For My Destination?

Again it majorly depends on your particular travel destination. However, the most common requirements are a special permit, known as a Certificate of Entry, a negative PCR test result that is no more than 72 hours old at the time of entry. Travelers must also show proof of international health insurance.

Do I Need A Test If I’ve Had The Covid-19 Vaccination?

Yes. While the vaccine may keep you from getting sick, scientists are still learning what that protection looks like in the real world. For example, they are still unsure whether people who have been vaccinated can spread the virus.

That is why, for the time being, you should get tested, and the CDC recommends wearing a mask in public places even after receiving the vaccination. 

What If I Don’t Have A Negative Covid-19 Test?

If you plan to travel internationally, you must now show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than three days before your flight. Especially if your travel destination requires it as a norm, that’s a must-do!

Where Can I Get A Covid-19 Test For International Travel?

If you are wondering where to get quick COVID-19 tests for international travel in Phoenix, Arizona, Affordable Rapid Testing would be the best place. The experts of the clinic are here to help you with your COVID testing requirements. They provide RT-PCR Travel Testing with same-day guaranteed results and COVID-19 Expedited Rapid Antigen And Rapid Antibody IgG/IgM Travel Certification Testing with travel certification test results typically available within 30-60 minutes. Contact the experts and get tested for quick results. They also accept walk-ins and can also schedule appointments online. Every time slot has a low price guarantee. Please contact them at (480) 923-5232 if you have any further questions or need more information.


Even if you have no symptoms, a Covid-19 RT-PCR test is the most accurate way to determine if you are infected. Choose from a variety of testing facilities at Affordable Rapid Testing. Make an online appointment or simply show up during business hours on any day for a secure, contactless check-in and payment experience.

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