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Close up of doctor filling out a stack of paperwork showing several positive COVID test results
Ralf Geithe | Adobe Stock

What Do You Need for Documentation of Recovery From COVID to Enter the U.S.?

If you’ve been infected with COVID-19, you’ll hopefully feel better within a short amount of time, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now allows you to end isolation within five days (followed by wearing a mask for five more days). 

However, people who have recovered from COVID can still test positive (particularly on more sensitive PCR tests) for up to three months after their initial infection, even though they are no longer contagious. This presents a problem for otherwise healthy travelers who need a negative COVID test to return to the United States after international travel.

Fortunately, the CDC allows travelers to provide “documentation of recovery from COVID-19” in lieu of a negative COVID test to reenter the United States. 

What Is the Documentation of Recovery?

The documentation of recovery is a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel. It must be paired with a positive COVID-19 viral test result that was taken no more than 90 days before your flight home.

What Information Must the Documentation of Recovery Include?

  • The letter must be written on official letterhead containing the name, address, and phone number of the healthcare provider/public health official signing the documentation of recovery.
  • The letter must include identifying information for the patient (name and date of birth) that matches your passport or other travel documents. 
  • The letter must indicate that you are cleared to end isolation (travel does not have to be specifically mentioned).

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