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COVID Flying Back to the US with Proof of Covid Infection

witsendwv

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
(2015)
As I sit here feeling just awful with a Covid positive household I got to thinking. (Not that I can think very well with the brain fog that goes along with this.) My husband and I just tested positive for Covid 19. The Centers for Disease Control tells me that I cannot test for 90 days because I may still test positive even though not infectious. The alternative to testing a day before returning to the US is to bring a proof of infection within 90 days, and a letter from a health care provider stating that an individual is cleared to travel. Has anyone used this method to return home? Is the test result and letter accepted by the airlines? We were planning to travel starting in mid March which would put us smack dab in the middle of the 90 days. Anyone have first hand information?
 
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First one in 1977 by train. Many since then by foot. Next one ASAP.
Late in August 2021 I got Covid-19 despite having been fully vaccinated. After an appropriate period of self-isolation I went back to my doctor, took a PCR test, and tested negative. I had my doctor write up a letter on his official letterhead with address/contact info, and all that. The letter stated that I had tested negative and was cleared to travel. I took it with me to Spain.

Early in October 2021 I went to the Iberia desk at MAD-Barajas to check in for my flight back home to the States. I presented my doctor's letter in lieu of a recent test. The check-in clerk looked at it in astonishment and said "No, no, no! This will not do!" She was adamantly unwilling to accept it. She acted as though she'd never seen anything like it before..... Well, I persisted. (What else could I do, at that point?!) After a considerable period and at my insistence, she called over a manager. The manager examined my doctor's letter and said that it was perfectly acceptable. I was admitted to the aircraft.... Whew!

It was an unsettling moment, one that I would not care to repeat.
 
Last edited:

witsendwv

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
(2015)
Late in August 2021 I got Covid-19 despite having been fully vaccinated. After an appropriate period of self-isolation I went back to my doctor, took a PCR test, and tested negative. I had my doctor write up a letter on his official letterhead with address/contact info, and all that. The letter stated that I had tested negative and was cleared to travel. I took it with me to Spain.

Early in October 2021 I went to the Iberia desk at MAD-Barajas to check in for my flight back home to the States. I presented my doctor's letter in lieu of a recent test. The check-in clerk looked at it in astonishment and said "No, no, no! This will not due!" She was adamantly unwilling to accept it. She acted as though she'd never seen anything like it before..... Well, I persisted. (What else could I do, at that point?!) After a considerable period and at my insistence, she called over a manager. The manager examined my doctor's letter and said that it was perfectly acceptable. I was admitted to the aircraft.... Whew!

It was an unsettling moment, one that I would not care to repeat. I think that next time (May/June 2022, God willing!) I'll go the recent test route instead.
I think it may have been a problem because you have to have had a positive test with the letter showing proof of infection and clearance from a PCP. I tested negative early last week probably because I was asymptomatic when tested. Three days later and feeling just terrible, the test was positive- we were told by the hospital that 3-4 days after symptons arise is the best time to test. Glad they let you home, and all was well!
 
Past OR future Camino
First one in 1977 by train. Many since then by foot. Next one ASAP.
I think it may have been a problem because you have to have had a positive test with the letter showing proof of infection and clearance from a PCP. I tested negative early last week probably because I was asymptomatic when tested. Three days later and feeling just terrible, the test was positive- we were told by the hospital that 3-4 days after symptons arise is the best time to test. Glad they let you home, and all was well!

My initial positive test result was on a separate sheet stapled to my doctor's letter.... Should have mentioned that.... But everything worked out for me, eh?! Good luck to you!
 

witsendwv

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
(2015)
My initial positive test result was on a separate sheet stapled to my doctor's letter.... Should have mentioned that.... But everything worked out for me, eh?! Good luck to you!
Your original post only said that you tested negative. Hopefully since October of last year the airlines have seen more of this type of exemption to testing. I guess we could wait longer than 90 days to travel, but we have already waited so many days...... I don't know how much longer we can wait-- well it is at least five more days before we can go anywhere! :(
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
The Centers for Disease Control tells me that I cannot test for 90 days because I may still test positive even though not infectious.
You can test, and if you use an antigen test rather than a PCR test you are less likely to show positive after you recover. PCR tests can detect fragments of the virus after you are no longer infectious. You can return to the US with an antigen test. I think that I would take an antigen test a couple of weeks after you recover to see if you get a negative result. If so, you can probably be confident that your antigen test before you return home to the US will be negative.

Currently, Spain does not require a Covid test if you are from the US, but you must have proof of vaccination.
 

Olivia Luna

Active Member
As I sit here feeling just awful with a Covid positive household I got to thinking. (Not that I can think very well with the brain fog that goes along with this.) My husband and I just tested positive for Covid 19. The Centers for Disease Control tells me that I cannot test for 90 days because I may still test positive even though not infectious. The alternative to testing a day before returning to the US is to bring a proof of infection within 90 days, and a letter from a health care provider stating that an individual is cleared to travel. Has anyone used this method to return home? Is the test result and letter accepted by the airlines? We were planning to travel starting in mid March which would put us smack dab in the middle of the 90 days. Anyone have first hand information?
Keep an eye on the CDC web page for international travel re-entry. We were re-entering US and had the test one day before travel as was specified (that had changed after we had made our travel plans and will likely change again by March).

Long story short, our fight was cancelled!!! There were no other testing sites with appointments available and the same flight had been cancelled two days in a row (winter weather). The CDC site said re-re entry travelers would have one day grace if the flight had been cancelled for no fault of the traveler. So, basically, they would accept a two day negative test.

I checked with the airline and they were fine with it, however, US customs was not. I pulled out the CDC info I had screen captured and pushed back (carefully as many do not like their authority challenged, so this was tricky). A supervisor got involved and I was cleared, luckily I had Global Entry and that seemed to have helped for some reason as they scanned that too.

TBH, I am not going to travel internationally until this re-entry testing stops. The stress is not worth it to me.
 
Past OR future Camino
Camino Madrid/Frances 2021
Future- del Norte 2022
I have a story for all of you. I started my Camino in Madrid at the end of September 2021 and walked north to Sahagun. I had decided on 4 days notice to go to Spain and did so because Canadians were allowed to enter Spain with no vaccination, no proof of infection and no COVID test. I was not vaccinated but decided to do so before I left and got a first vaccination. I had no intention of vaccinating but thought it was wise to do so due to the trip. I got to the Lufthansa desk and told them I did not need anything. That raised an eyebrow and after a 15 minute check with supervisors, the attendant returned and said that I was correct. I also produced a COVID test because I just wanted people around me to feel comfortable knowing I had a COVID test although it was not required.
Once in Spain I hit a wall in Leon with my legs and decided to take the high speed train to Madrid and booked a return flight with my plan to self isolate for 14 days after landing in Canada because those were the rules. On the train, I started feeling better and looked up where vaccinations were taking place in Madrid. I found a hospital that was doing vaccinations and it was exactly 21 days since my first injection and it was the Spanish National Holiday. I reached the hospital and thought I had nothing to lose and asked if I could be vaccinated. They very kindly said I could not for a multitude of reasons then said they would have a meeting. After about 5 minutes, a very charming young man said that they had talked it over and saw that I was a pilgrim and would do as I had asked. Don't you just love the Spanish people!!
I was vaccinated, got the papers, cancelled my return flight and was back in Leon by end of day. I then completed the Camino and could fly back to Canada with no quarantine requirement.
For me, the Camino provided in a way I had never expected. I am still thankful for the kind people who helped me and this is the first time I could acknowledge them. NO matter what your position on vaccination is, that is a heart warming story.
 

julia-t

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2015-17
Kumano Kodo March 2018
Camino Portuguese Valenca-SdC April 2018
AFD92EDA-74E3-46DA-9901-13D54D34A31C.jpeg
This chart may help give you an idea about testing after covid.
Apparently it’s only a very small percentage of people who will still test positive up to 90 days, most will be negative after 2-3 weeks.
 

TaijiPilgrim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017), LePuy(2019)
Just to make the discussion even more "fun"... In addition to having a negative test within a day of your return flight to the US, you must sign an official attestation form. I know because I just flew back to the US this past Saturday on TAP from Lisbon and had not printed this out ahead of time. The CDC website states that airlines are required to have passengers flying to the US fill this out.This form is about 6 pages of legalese with two check boxes and a required signature. When our gate was announced, we proceeded to the gate. Indeed, staff gave us the attestation form and then checked all our documentation including test results before allowing us into the gate area. This attestation form is so long because of all the exceptions listed and explanations of rules. Go to the CDC website and read the attestation form because it will give you an explanation of what is currently required to enter the US and what exemptions and documentation (ie. doctors letters) are possible. Of course, this is constantly subject to change!
 
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witsendwv

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
(2015)
You can test, and if you use an antigen test rather than a PCR test you are less likely to show positive after you recover. PCR tests can detect fragments of the virus after you are no longer infectious. You can return to the US with an antigen test. I think that I would take an antigen test a couple of weeks after you recover to see if you get a negative result. If so, you can probably be confident that your antigen test before you return home to the US will be negative.

Currently, Spain does not require a Covid test if you are from the US, but you must have proof of vaccination.
Mea culpa, poor word choice. A traveler in the 90 day recovery window can test, but there is no requirement to test to return to the US under those circumstances. I would not even use a less sensitive test as there is always the possibility of a positive result due to the virus remnants remaining in secretions up to 90 days. Better not to test since it is not required. I'll carry my positve result and my letter with my attestation. Now its just time to wait until we feel comfortable finalizing our plans. 🙂
🥾
 

Jim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2006- Camino Portuguese
2008- Camino Frances
2009- Sanabres extension of the VDLP
2010- Camino Frances
2011- Camino Potuguese
2014- Camino Frances
2017- Camino Finisterre
Late in August 2021 I got Covid-19 despite having been fully vaccinated. After an appropriate period of self-isolation I went back to my doctor, took a PCR test, and tested negative. I had my doctor write up a letter on his official letterhead with address/contact info, and all that. The letter stated that I had tested negative and was cleared to travel. I took it with me to Spain.

Early in October 2021 I went to the Iberia desk at MAD-Barajas to check in for my flight back home to the States. I presented my doctor's letter in lieu of a recent test. The check-in clerk looked at it in astonishment and said "No, no, no! This will not do!" She was adamantly unwilling to accept it. She acted as though she'd never seen anything like it before..... Well, I persisted. (What else could I do, at that point?!) After a considerable period and at my insistence, she called over a manager. The manager examined my doctor's letter and said that it was perfectly acceptable. I was admitted to the aircraft.... Whew!

It was an unsettling moment, one that I would not care to repeat.
In reading your situation and all the responses, I think we have to bear in mind that this whole pandemic demands somewhat of a learning curve for everyone working in the travel industry with all the changes in poicies, varients of the disease itself and how the world's agencies perceive this problem. We have to keep that in mind and (calmly) push for approval higher up the chain if we think we are correct and the person examining our documents does not agree. Best to take copies of official regs as well to support position. And if it doesn't work out, we are usually talking about a delay of a few days-- certainly not the end of the world and ought to be factored into one's budget if one simply feels that he/she "must" travel during these times.
 

Olivia Luna

Active Member
Just to make the discussion even more "fun"... In addition to having a negative test within a day of your return flight to the US, you must sign an official attestation form. I know because I just flew back to the US this past Saturday on TAP from Lisbon and had not printed this out ahead of time. The CDC website states that airlines are required to have passengers flying to the US fill this out.This form is about 6 pages of legalese with two check boxes and a required signature. When our gate was announced, we proceeded to the gate. Indeed, staff gave us the attestation form and then checked all our documentation including test results before allowing us into the gate area. This attestation form is so long because of all the exceptions listed and explanations of rules. Go to the CDC website and read the attestation form because it will give you an explanation of what is currently required to enter the US and what exemptions and documentation (ie. doctors letters) are possible. Of course, this is constantly subject to change!
We actually printed the attestation form from the CDC website and filled it out before arriving at the airport only to have the airline tell us they needed THEIR form and not the one we had from the CDC. Like I said earlier, until the re-entry regulations change, it is domestic travel for us.
 

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