SDX Guides

One guide to answer all your COVID-19 travel testing questions

The first question we'll address, and the most common one is: Do I need a COVID-19 test to travel?

The answer (and the reason this guide is exists) is… It depends! A better, and perhaps more apt questions is: Should I get a covid test before and after traveling? And the answer, overwhelmingly, is YES. We’ll touch on that later, now, on to the most common questions we get about COVID-19 and travel.

1. What countries do I need a COVID-19 test to travel to?

We’ve got a chart containing all COVID-19 test requirements for popular travel desinations. Find the country you’re looking for below. Be sure to check the source link to make sure the data is still correct before making travel plans. This information changes on the drop of a dime, going straight to the source is ALWAYS recommended.

COVID-19 Travel Testing Country by Country Requirements.

CountryCOVID-19 Test Type RequiredLink For More InfoTimeframe Required
AlbaniaNoneClick HereN/A
Antigua and BarbudaRT-PCRClick Here7 days before departure
ArubaPCRClick Here72 hours before departure
AustriaRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of arrival
AustraliaPCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of departure
the BahamasRT-PCRClick Here5 days before arrival
BangladeshRT-PCRClick Here72 hours before departure
BarbadosRT-PCRClick Here3 days prior to arrival
BelarusPCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of arrival
BermudaRT-PCRClick Here5 days before arrival
BrazilRT-PCRClick Here72 hours prior to boarding
BulgariaRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of arrival
CambodiaRT-PCRClick Here72 hours from arrival
ColombiaPCRClick Here96 hours prior to departure
Costa RicaNoneClick HereN/A
CroatiaRT-PCRClick Here48 hours before arrival
CuraçaoRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of departure
DenmarkRT-PCRClick HereWithin 48 hour prior to travel
DominicaRT-PCRClick Here24-72 hours before arrival
Dominican RepublicNoneClick HereN/A
DubaiRT-PCRClick HereWithin 96 prior to departure
EcuadorRT-PCRClick HereWithin 3 days of arrival
EgyptRT-PCRClick HereWithin 96 hours
El SalvadorRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of arrival
EthiopiaRT-PCRClick HereWithin 120 hours of arrival
GhanaRT-PCRClick Here72 hours before departure
GreeceRT-PCRClick Here72 hours before arrival
GrenadaRT-PCRClick HereWithin 3 days of departure
HaitiPCRClick Here72 hours before boarding
HondurasRT-PCRClick Here72 hours before arrival
Hong KongRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of departure
HungaryRT-PCRClick HereComplex - see below
IndiaRT-PCRClick Here72 hours before departure
IndonesiaRT-PCRClick Here72 hours before departure
IrelandRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of arrival in Ireland
ItalyRT-PCR, AntigenClick Here
JamaicaRT-PCRClick Here72 hours before departure
JapanRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of departure
JordanRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of arrival
KenyaRT-PCRClick Here96 hours prior to travel
The MaldivesRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of arrival
MaltaN/AClick HereN/A
MexicoN/AClick HereN/A
MontenegroRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of (departure or arrival?)
MoroccoRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of departure
NamibiaRT-PCRClick HereWithin 7 days of (departure or arrival?)
The NetherlandsRT-PCRClick Here24 hours prior to departure
AviancaRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of arrival
North MacedoniaN/AClick HereN/A
PanamaRT-PCRClick HereWithin 48 hours of travel
PakistanRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of departure
QatarRT-PCRClick HereWithin 48 hours of departure
RussiaRT-PCRClick HereWithin 3 days of arrival
RwandaRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of departure
SerbiaRT-PCRClick HereWithin 48 hours of arrival
SeychellesPCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of departure
SingaporeRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of departure
Sri LankaRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of departure
St. BartsRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of arrival
St. LuciaRT-PCRClick HereWithin 5 days of arrival
St. MaartenRT-PCRClick HereWithin 120 hours of departure
St. Vincent and the GrenadinesRT-PCRClick HereWithin 5 days of arrival
South KoreaPCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of departure
TanzaniaN/AClick HereN/A
ThailandRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of departure
TurkeyPCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of departure
Turks and CaicosRT-PCRClick HereWithin 5 days of arrival
UkraineRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of arrival
United KingdomPCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of arrival
ZambiaRT-PCRClick HereWithin 72 hours of arrival
Data from: MyDocSF and other sources. This is being periodically updated but was last modified in November of 2021.

2. Do I need a COVID-19 test to get back into the United States?

So, you finally took your trip! Now there’s the part where you have to fly back – the United States currently requires a negative RT-PCR, PCR, or Antigen test dated within 72 hours of your arrival. 

3. Are rapid tests reliable?

It depends on the test – rapid antigen testing (the type of testing you’ll find in most instant home-test kits) is far less reliable than PCR testing, but recently new tests and equipment have been developed to provide what are called RT-PCR tests. These tests mix the reliability and accuracy of a PCR test with a turnaround time much closer to these widely available at-home tests. Best yet, most countries accept RT-PCR results for travel. (Want to book a test? Visit link and follow instructions)

4. What types of COVID-19 tests are out there?

Well - what is your goal for taking a test? Do you want the most confidence in your results? Do you need a test to travel in the first place? Do you have a few symptoms or are feeling off and need to be confident in not canceling your plans?

  • 1

    PCR tests are the most accurate.

    however many providers offer longer turnaround times. We’re proud to offer next-day results on PCR testing though, so if you’re in Pittsburgh – we’re here for you!

  • 2

    Antigen and Lateral Flow Tests are the fastest.

     If you have symptoms the morning of an event, even if they’re minor, a cheap and quick antigen test like BINAX can provide some additional peace of mind. However, this is all they provide. They are known to be significantly less accurate than the PCR equivalent and may leave you with more doubts than answers.

  • 3

    RT-PCR Tests hit the sweet spot in the middle.

    They aren’t always the best for every situation though - they are more costly and may not readily available based on your location.

5. So – what test is right for you? Here’s how to make your decision

  1. Do you need a result now and cost isn’t a concern? Get an RT-PCR Test from a qualified lab. (Book your test with SDxLabs here)
  2. Do you need a result now*, aren't concerned with high reliability, and don’t have $300 or more to spend? Get an antigen at-home test kit from anywhere that sells them.
    *Note that at-home kits are not accepted by any country for travel. This is for your personal knowledge and the safety of yourself and those around you.
  3. Do you have time to plan and know when you need to have a negative result? Get a Travel PCR test from a lab.
    Learn more about travel testing options.

6. What should you do if you test positive?

Stay home, quarantine based on the current CDC recommendations (they vary based on vaccination status and time-since infection – learn more here), do not travel and apread the virus.  

Have a question you'd like answered? Let us know and we'll add it to the list.