The United States is warning Americans who choose to travel to the Caribbean and other places, that they should be aware that they may face unexpected challenges related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, on returning home or attempting to travel from one overseas location to another.
“US citizens who do choose to travel internationally should make contingency plans, as they may have to remain in a foreign country longer than originally planned, which will be at their own expense,” said the State Department in a statement, recommending international travel insurance with coverage for COVID
-related trip cancellation and medical benefits.
In general, the State Department noted that Medicare and Medicaid do not cover overseas medical costs. Medicare is the US federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD).
Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults and people with disabilities.
The State Department urged US citizens to review travel advisories and US Embassy COVID
-19 information before traveling. It also urged US citizens to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for regular updates.
Before boarding a flight to the US, the State Department said all air travelers, aged two and older, regardless of nationality or vaccination status, are required to show documentation of a negative viral test result taken within one day of the flight’s departure to the United States, or documentation of recovery from COVID
-19. This includes US citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs).
In addition, the State Department noted that some countries have imposed other travel requirements. It said these may include quarantine on arrival, mandatory COVID
-19 testing requirements, proof of vaccination, travel restrictions and closed borders.
Some countries have also imposed travel restrictions requiring mandatory quarantine for those testing positive on departure, “which could delay a traveler's ability to travel to another country,” the State Department said.
“Foreign governments in any country may implement restrictions with little notice,” it warned, urging US citizens planning to travel overseas, or currently overseas and planning to return to the United States, to also contact their airline for specific information about testing requirements for travelers.
The State Department said airlines may adopt and modify their own specific policies to implement the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC)s testing rule.
The department is also encouraging US citizens to confirm their eligibility for traveling on an expired passport prior to finalizing travel arrangements.
“Recently expired US passports cannot be used to travel from the United States to an international destination or to travel to a foreign country for any length of stay longer than an airport connection en route to the United States or to a United States territory,” the State Department warned.