Are Antigen Tests Accepted for Travel to the USA?
The first Covid strain was identified in December 2019, nestled in Wuhan, a city in China’s Hubei province with a population of 11 million. From here, the virus spread relentlessly, jumping international borders until the whole world had felt the impact of the contagious illness.
Three years later, the effects of Covid are still felt internationally. The most affected part of the world, to this date, is still the matter of international borders - and how safest to cross them. This has led many to ask the question, are antigen tests accepted for travel, and more specifically, are antigen tests accepted for travel to the USA?
As one of the world’s leading powerhouses in agriculture, industry, culture and finances, the USA is one of the top hotspots for international travel. Studies suggest that there are currently 79.6 million international visitors to the US annually, with the majority of those visitors coming from Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Because of the United States’ overwhelming popularity, it’s no surprise that many are eager to learn what you need to get into the country and whether an antigen test can do it for you.
In this article, we will help you to understand what an antigen test is, how it can help you get into the USA and why it is so effective for international travel. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about antigen tests, international travel and the USA.
What Are Rapid Antigen Tests?
A rapid antigen test, sometimes abbreviated to RAT, is a rapid diagnostic test that is suitable for detecting the presence of antigens in a human’s body. The rapid antigen test uses similar methods and procedures as the lateral flow test to find Covid-19 materials and separate them from the human body’s normal antigens.
The tests work by relying on a protein or polysaccharide molecule that is usually an integral component of the pathogen, and identifying whether or not it is present either through samples taken by nasopharyngeal secretions (for Covid-19), oropharyngeal fluid from a throat swab (Covid-19 and Strep) or urine (for Pneumonia). Once the biological material of the pathogen has been detected it is then bound to the strip provided in the testing kits and highlighted using a chemical concentration that changes colour in its presence. This way, users of the rapid antigen tests can quickly identify whether or not they are infected.
The two most important things that a rapid antigen test needs to be effective is an efficient antigen reaction and efficient antigen detection. This is achieved once the availability of organic molecules that can bind to specific domains present on the target component is increased to a suitable level, making it easier for the chemicals present in the test to bind to this organic material.
Studies suggest that contact with respiratory droplets from talking, coughing, and sneezing during face-to-face exposure is the most common way that Covid-19 is transmitted, with direct inhalation of infected particles and contact transmission via oral, nasal, and eye mucous equally important methods of spreading the virus. Because it is spread primarily from the throat (nose and mouth), the rapid antigen test focuses her and collects samples from the most-likely-to-be-infected areas; as a result, tests will typically tell you to swab both your nose and mouth various times.
One of the reasons that rapid antigen tests have been so popular is because they are quicker and easier to use by consumers. They come pre-packed with a list of instructions and recommendations on how to take the test, and they provide results anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes at a time. This makes them ideal for household usage and day-to-day testing for work, school or any other consistent reason. Furthermore, they tend to work by detecting specific proteins, collectively termed antigens, on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) particles, making them easy to mass-produce and standardise.
Rapid antigen tests have been at the forefront of testing ever since the first lockdown, but their biggest flaw routinely lets them down - they require a clear and decisive acknowledgement of the presence of Covid-19 for a positive result to be created. Studies on the effectiveness of rapid antigen tests suggest that they require upwards of thousands of viral proteins per millilitre of solution in your nose or throat to test positive, which was later refined in development to make them more effective. However, this would suggest that at one point in time, you would have to be practically teeming with the virus for a chance of a positive test.
Can You Enter The USA With An Antigen Test?
Like many places, the USA has opened up to international travel once again. However, this has come at a cost, with many more restrictions and recommendations in place to ensure the safety of travellers, natives and workers whilst travel is enabled. One of these restrictions is that you must have proof of a negative antigen test upon arrival.
Many countries require antigen tests as a form of ‘fit to fly’ certificate. These certificates are normally proof of negative Covid tests which make the holder eligible for travelling internationally safely. However, the exact testing requirements for these certificates vary from country to country, and even the airline can change the rules at a moment's notice.
If you are arriving on a direct flight to the United States, your test must be done within the 3 calendar days before your flight to the United States departs. This is to limit the time period where you could have caught the virus following your test to ensure the safety of passengers and crew members alike. If you have chosen to enter the United States through a connecting flight, your test must have been done in the 3 days before your first flight, but only if the connecting flights were booked as a single passenger booking with a final destination in the United States.
One of the reasons that you are able to enter the USA with a rapid antigen test is because they are reliable. Our research found that because most are created by a government-listed provider with approved use by the EU they can be credible sources of information to prove to people that you are healthy to travel. Even taking an antigen test with you when the country does not necessarily need it can be extremely beneficial for making your flying experience smoother and easier. In the event that an airline believes you may be infected, you can present the negative test and continue on with your journey - if you fail to have one on hand, you could be rejected from entering and sent on an expensive and lengthy trip back home.
We found that during lockdown, there was a 50% drop in domestic passenger traffic globally, whilst international traffic fell by 74%. As the aviation industry recovers from the dramatic slump they experienced at the peak of Covid, airlines are bound to be on edge and cautious about a resurgence of the virus on their planes. As a result, it is expected that an antigen test will be required for countries such as the USA for the foreseeable future.
Do You Need An Emergency Covid Test?
If you believe that you may be suffering from Covid-19 and would like clarity so that you can seek treatment, it’s always best to take a test as soon as possible. Our specialist team is on hand around the clock to provide quality care and services to help get Covid-19 tests to you so that you can start the road to recovery earlier. With our innovative new services and products, we are able to provide you with a unique and speedy service that will help redefine the meaning of ‘customer service’ forever.
Our mission is always to reinvent the modern way of taking and receiving Covid-19 tests and provide a service which is reflective of modern-day issues and solutions. We have always been proud to be able to say that our service has catered to 15,000 travellers to date, with many more expected to come in the following years.
For more information on how to reach us and order your tests today, you can contact Official Rapid Tests using our online form for the quickest responses and swift support from members of our team. Alternatively, you may choose to book an appointment for consultation either in person or over the phone to discuss your options and what may suit you best. Whatever you choose to do, we have no doubt that you’ll find what you’re looking for with us.