January 04, 2023

COVID Testing Requirements for Passengers Traveling from China to the United States/Canada in 2023

In response to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in China, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) have announced testing requirements for passengers traveling from China, Hong, Kong, and Macau. The new rules are scheduled to take effect for passengers traveling into both the United States and Canada on January 5, 2023.

United States

CDC announced in a December 28, 2022, press release that all passengers two years of age or older traveling to the United States from China, Hong Kong, or Macau will be required to show a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test no more than two days before departure; alternately, passengers who test positive more than 10 days before their flight can provide documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in lieu of a negative test result. The order outlining requirements for passengers was published December 30 and goes into effect January 5.

ALPA has confirmed with U.S. government officials that flight crews are exempt from the testing requirement, in the same manner as previous orders. 

Rules for crewmembers are covered in the CDC’s airline/crew FAQ.

Passenger restrictions effective January 5, 2023, include the following:

  • The testing requirement applies to all passengers regardless of nationality or vaccination status and to persons traveling from China/Hong Kong/Macau via a third country transit and to passengers connecting through the United States to other destinations.
  • Along with applying this requirement to direct flights from China/Hong Kong/Macau, passengers transiting Incheon International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport on their way to the United States will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test no more than 2 days before their departure to the United States, if they have been in China (along with Hong Kong and Macau) in the last 10 days.
  • Passengers who test positive more than 10 days before their flight can provide documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in lieu of a negative test result.
  • Airlines must confirm the negative test result or documentation before boarding passengers.

CDC has published additional information in a Notice to Airlines and Aircraft Operators and a “What You Need to Know” page for travelers.


PHAC announced in a December 31, 2022, news release that air travelers age two and older from the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong or Macao will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test before departing for Canada. Passengers who tested positive more than 10 days before their departure flight, but no more than 90 days, can provide the airline with documentation of their prior positive status, in place of a negative test result. 

These planned health measures will apply to air travelers regardless of nationality and vaccination status. The measures are temporary, in place for 30 days, and will be reassessed as more data and evidence becomes available.  

According to the order published by the Canadian government, flight crews are exempt from the testing requirement.

ALPA is monitoring this issue and will publish updates to this page and in FastRead as needed. Members with questions regarding crew testing policies can contact ALPA’s Engineering and Air Safety Department at EAS@alpa.org or 800-424-2470.