SAN DIEGO — All travelers entering the U.S., regardless of their vaccination status or nationality, must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within one calendar day of their departing flight, including anyone two years or older.

David Rabinov, who arrived to San Diego International Airport from Cabo San Lucas, learned of the new requirements right before his trip and says it was surprisingly easy to get it done.

“The hotel was able to put on all the testing facilities on site, so that we had a negative test within 24 hours of our flight,” he said.

It seemed simple for a known tourist destination that caters to American travelers, but for other more impoverished countries, the 24-hour window could pose a challenge. 

“You wait in a long line with no distancing, which just shows the whole joke of it,” said Michael Singer, who returned from Colombia. “You go into a room and into a little lab on the airport premises and they do the swabby swab and they send you an email within 24 hours.”

Once travelers get their negative test, they must show it to the airline they are traveling on as part of the check-in process. Previously, travelers needed to show a negative test three days before boarding a flight, but since the international warnings about the new omicron variant President Joe Biden announced last week, they would be instituted new travel rules.

“So you have a QR code online, on your phone, and they check in before you get to the airport as well and then once you get here to make sure you’re on your flight,” Rabinov said.

Tests must meet CDC requirements like the gold standard PCR or an antigen test, better known as a rapid test. At-home kits must be affiliated with a telehealth provider who can confirm the result.