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This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.

Effective January 5, 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test, or documentation of recovery within the last 90 days, for air passengers boarding flights to the United States originating from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

CDC said it is announcing this step “to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the United States during the surge in COVID-19 cases in the PRC given the lack of adequate and transparent epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data being reported from the PRC. These data are critical to monitor the case surge effectively and decrease the chance for entry of a novel variant of concern. The CDC will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our approach as necessary.”

CDC made the decision following China’s announcement that it is dropping quarantine requirements for inbound international arrivals and resuming outbound travel for Chinese citizens. According to reports, a regional health chief in Hong Kong said that almost half of air passengers arriving on December 26, 2022, in Italy’s Milan airport from China tested positive for COVID-19. Although some countries in addition to the United States have imposed restrictions, such as Japan, Spain and Italy, so far others are not changing their entry requirements, such as France and Great Britain, although the latter is reportedly considering the issue. India imposed similar restrictions on travelers from Japan, South Korea and Thailand, in addition to China.

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