International travelers to Los Angeles face new COVID testing rules

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Travelers arriving to Los Angeles on Monday from international destinations will find some new COVID-19 rules in place.

In an effort to slow the spread of the omicron variant and prepare for the winter season, the Biden administration has tightened the COVID-19 testing rules for travelers visiting, or returning to, the United States.

The previous rule called for international travelers to have a negative COVID-19 test within three days before arriving in the United States. Now the window has been tightened to one day before getting on the plane. The rule applies to anyone traveling to the United States, regardless of nationality or vaccination status.

Two weeks ago, the Biden administration also announced a ban on travel from eight countries in southern Africa where the omicron variant is spreading rapidly.

What to know about the new testing rules for international travelers
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CDC racing to learn more about Omicron Covid variant. ABC's Faith Abubey reports.

And while testing is not mandatory after you arrive in the United States, Los Angeles International Airport has set up a rapid testing site in the Tom Bradley International Terminal for arriving passengers. The testing is free and voluntary.

Officials say the key is to make sure people understand the importance of getting tested, especially as more are traveling with the holidays.

Some travelers say the required testing can be time consuming and expensive in other countries, adding frustration to an already challenging ordeal.

"It's something we'll have to figure out on the fly when we get there," said traveler Terry Ward. "But I think this is how travel is these days. You have to adapt."

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