Travel Advisory and Guidance
Updated April 11, 2021
Recent Update: Information added to clarify the guidance for international travel.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend that individuals avoid out-of-state non-essential travel because travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.
Because fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19, persons who are fully vaccinated can now travel provided they take precautions and follow safety recommendations.
Persons who are not fully vaccinated arriving in or returning to Los Angeles County from other states or countries could easily introduce new sources of infection (potentially including new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus).
It is imperative that LA County residents continue to take steps necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19 and contain new sources of infection until we can achieve higher levels of vaccination in California and globally.
The County of Los Angeles is issuing the following guidance for travelers, which supersede the Travel Advisory and Guidance issued on February 3, 2021 and shall apply prospectively from April 5, 2021. Non-essential travel out-of-state or out-of-country is still not recommended. For those that must travel, the following applies:
- All travelers who are not fully vaccinated should get tested with a COVID-19 viral test (swab or saliva) 1-3 days before travel. Travel should not be initiated until a negative test result is returned.
- All travelers who test positive or develop symptoms of COVID-19 must isolate and follow County isolation instructions. Do not travel when symptomatic or with a positive COVID-19 test result, regardless of vaccination status.
- All non-essential travelers who are not fully vaccinated arriving in or returning to California from other states or countries must quarantine as described below.
- Fully vaccinated persons may travel but should continue to take precautions. If asymptomatic, no quarantine or testing is needed upon return from domestic travel. For international travel, see the CDC’s International Travel During COVID-19 webpage for more information.
Fully Vaccinated Persons
Definition of Fully Vaccinated
A person is considered fully vaccinated ≥2 weeks following the receipt of:
- the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna)
- one dose of a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson/Janssen).
Persons who don’t meet these requirements must follow the travel instructions for Persons Who Are Not Fully Vaccinated.
Fully vaccinated travelers may travel domestically without a pre- or post-travel test and without quarantining if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 after domestic travel.
However, international travel poses additional risk for getting and possibly spreading new COVID-19 variants. Fully vaccinated persons may travel internationally provided they take precautions while traveling and follow all airline and destination requirements related to travel, testing, or quarantine, which may differ from U.S. requirements. In addition, the CDC requires that all travelers coming into the United States (including U.S. citizens, regardless of vaccination status) have a negative COVID-19 viral test (swab or saliva) result no more than 3 days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months prior to boarding a plane to the United States. For example, if a passenger’s flight is at 1pm on a Friday, the passenger could board with a negative test that was taken any time on the prior Tuesday or after. See the CDC’s International Travel During COVID-19 webpage for more information.
Fully vaccinated persons should continue to take precautions to protect others when they travel:
- During Travel
- Wear a mask. Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
- Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who is not traveling with you.
- Wash hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
- After Travel
- Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days upon return to Los Angeles County; isolate and get tested if symptoms develop.
- With international travel only, a viral test 3-5 days post travel is recommended.
Persons Who Are Not Fully Vaccinated
Non-Essential Travel and Quarantine Requirements
- Until they are fully vaccinated, Los Angeles County residents should continue to avoid all non-essential travel outside of California, unless they are traveling for essential purposes. Avoiding travel reduces the risk of virus transmission, including by reducing the risk that new sources of infection and, potentially, new virus strains that are now present in California. "Non-essential travel" includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.
- All non-essential travelers from other states or countries are strongly discouraged from entering the County of Los Angeles and must adhere to the quarantine procedures described below in #4.
- ALL travelers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, are required to have and show a negative COVID-19 viral test (swab or saliva) result no more than 3 days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months prior to boarding a plane to the United States. For example, if a passenger’s flight is at 1pm on a Friday, the passenger could board with a negative test that was taken any time on the prior Tuesday or after. See the CDC’s International Travel During COVID-19 webpage for more information.
- Quarantine and self-monitoring are required* for all non-essential travelers who are not fully vaccinated arriving in or returning to the County of Los Angeles from other states or countries, as follows:
- Quarantine for 7 full days after travel if they get tested and get a negative COVID-19 viral test (swab or saliva) result from a specimen collected 3-5 days after their arrival.
- Quarantine for 10 full days after travel if they did not get tested with a COVID-19 viral test after their arrival.
- For 14 days after their arrival, continue to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, and avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness. They must isolate and should get tested if symptoms develop.
*Persons who have recovered from laboratory confirmed COVID in the past 3 months (90 days) and are asymptomatic do not need a viral test and do not need to quarantine. However, they must monitor their health for symptom of COVID-19 for 14 days after their arrival. Recovered from COVID-19 is defined as having completed isolation. (Click here for more info on isolation for COVID-19 and “When Does My Home Isolation End?”)
Note: If the recent traveler is needed for urgent critical healthcare staffing needs or to otherwise engage in emergency response, they are permitted to work, but must quarantine when not doing their essential work.
- Persons who travel into Los Angeles County solely for essential work purposes may work but must comply with all requirements related to wearing face masks and maintaining physical distancing. When not conducting essential work, they should take care to not mix with others.
Essential travel is travel associated with the operation, maintenance, or usage of critical infrastructure or otherwise required or expressly authorized by law (including other applicable state and local public health directives), including work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security.
Essential travelers who are not fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to self-quarantine if they engaged any of the following activities that placed them at a higher risk of contracting the virus that causes COVID-19:
- Close contact interaction (within six feet for a total of more than 15 minutes) with a person who was not fully vaccinated and not a household member when face masks were not consistently worn at all times;
- They were indoors, including on a shared conveyance, such as a plane, train or bus, and either the individual or those around you were not wearing face masks at all times; or
- Close contact interaction (within six feet for a total of more than 15 minutes), regardless of masking, with someone who was experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who began to experience symptoms of COVID-19 within 48 hours of their interaction with them.
Recommendations for Travelers
Precautions for Persons Who Are Unable to Delay Travel
If you MUST travel, plan ahead:
- If you are eligible, get fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Wait 2 weeks after getting your second vaccine dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or after getting the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine to travel—it takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination.
- Get tested with a COVID-19 viral test (swab or saliva) 1-3 days before travel, if not fully vaccinated. Do NOT travel if you test positive or develop symptoms of COVID-19. Note: testing is not recommended if you are currently without symptoms AND you have recovered from laboratory confirmed COVID-19 in the past 3 months. “Recovered from COVID-19” means you had a positive COVID-19 viral test (swab or saliva) result and you have completed your isolation. See LACDPH’s “When does my home isolation end” webpage for more details.
- Know how widespread COVID-19 is in the area you must travel to. For cases in the last 7 days by state, see https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_casesper100klast7days. For the risk assessment level for COVID-19 by country, see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/map-and-travel-notices.html.
- Find out where you can be tested if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 during your trip. For a list of symptoms, see http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/about-covid.htm.
- People at high-risk of severe COVID-19 should be particularly careful about traveling, including:
- People who are older, smoke or are overweight
- Pregnant women
- People with certain medical conditions like diabetes, heart problems, COPD, cancer, weakened immune systems, and sickle cell disease.
- Avoid travel to the extent possible if you will be traveling with someone who cannot wear a mask consistently, including children under 2 years old who should not be wearing face masks due to risk of suffocation.
While traveling, reduce your risk.
- Wear a face mask over your nose and mouth and stay 6 feet or more away from people you do not live with, including family members you do not normally live with. Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
- Avoid spending time indoors with people you don’t normally live with, including family members, to the extent possible. The risk of getting COVID-19 is generally much greater indoors than outdoors because the virus that causes COVID-19 can travel in the air more than 6 feet and collects indoors and in enclosed spaces. If you must spend time indoors, choose a larger room that is well-ventilated or where windows and doors can be opened, and wear a face mask at all times.
- Try to limit the number of people you interact with. For example, if you are traveling for work or you must travel to care for family, avoid in-person interactions with neighbors or friends.
- Don’t share vehicles with people you don’t live with. Vehicles are small enclosed spaces where COVID-19 can spread easily between people. If you must share a vehicle, try to ride with the same people each time, 1) make sure everyone wears a facemask, 2) open the windows, and 3) maximize outdoor air circulation as much as you can.
- Avoid meals, drinks, or gatherings with people you don’t normally live with, including family members. Eating and drinking together is higher-risk because people must take off their masks to eat or drink, are more likely to touch their mouths while eating, often sit within 6 feet of each other, and talk while eating, creating more respiratory droplets or small particles. If you do have a meal or private gathering, it must 1) be limited to one or two other households with a maximum of 15 people, 2) be held outdoors only, and 3) be limited to two hours or less, and 4) follow the Social (Physical) Distancing requirements of the County Order Section 3a. It is safer for people in different households to sit outdoors at least 6 feet apart and to wear masks when they are not actively eating or drinking (such as when talking).
All Travelers Regardless of Vaccination
- DO NOT travel if you are sick or test positive for COVID-19. You could spread COVID-19.
- If you have COVID-19 symptoms (see ph.lacounty.gov/covidcare), get tested and wait for a negative test result before you start your trip.
- A negative test should not be interpreted as a safety clearance for traveling or for engaging in other high-risk activities or with others indoors, without wearing a face mask, and without practicing physical distancing. These tests assess for virus in your body the moment you were tested; you may actually have COVID-19 that won’t show up on a test until later that day or in subsequent days, and a negative test might create a false sense of security.
For additional information see CDC Information on Travel During COVID-19:
Note: PDF documents on this site were created using Adobe Acrobat 5.0 or later. Document functionality may be reduced if you are using an earlier version (4.x or less). Get the latest version of Adobe Acrobat.
Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.