Flying to the US During COVID

Hi all… it’s been a while since I’ve visited home and I’m getting lots of pressure from the folks back home for a visit. Anyway, there are so many restrictions and rules now for flying, I don’t even know where to begin. I have started looking for flights and they are not cheap. Looking at around $2k USD minimum for a flight to the US.

Now I’d like to hear from people who have done this recently, or have already planned it all out. Here are some questions:

  1. What are the rules/restrictions for leaving Taiwan? What kind of test (or whatever else) do you need before even boarding an airplane?

  2. What (if any) restrictions are there for entry to the US?

  3. Is it possible to make a connecting flight in another country (ie Korea or Japan) before arriving in the US, or will that just complicate things way too much?

  4. As for arriving back in Taiwan, what are the entry restrictions? What test needs to be taken before being allowed entry?

  5. Is it possible to transfer through another country before entering Taiwan (ie Canada, Korea, Japan, HK) or will that just complicate matters too much?

If anyone has knowledge or experience, please share. Would certainly appreciate recent personal first hand experience anecdotes and any helpful links with info.

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Are you American?

yessir. and I also have an APRC in Taiwan.

None. You will need an Antigen test for the US, not PCR.

Some states may ask for quarantine, but its not enforced like it is in Taiwan.

Sure, they don’t care.

An awful, unscientific quarantine regime. And you need a valid ARC/APRC. You will need to do a PCR test 48 hours before departure. Suggest you don’t come back until April when they will have likely loosened quarantine.

Not an issue. Except HK. You might be kidnapped.

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Each airline has its own rules, but when I went to the US last, all they requested was an Antigen test. I got a PCR test because I needed it for Canada as well.

None. You’re American. Border guards didn’t even care to see the test.

Yes. No complications.

You need a PCR test. IIRC they recently tightened the time difference for when you get it. I gotta check. Originally it was 72 hr.

It shouldn’t be said that you need to quarantine in Taiwan.

Yes. No complications unless you transfer in a ‘dangerous’ country. That will affect how your quarantine plays out.

I went to the US in November. Came back in December.

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Even though Taiwan’s measures have done exactly what they were supposed to do?


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I’m not planning to make this trip until summer, but starting to check flights now… maybe book in February or March. Flights have gotten really expensive lately, probably the combined factor of COVID and increased oil prices. Hopefully things will be a little easier by then.

Be careful about connections in Japan. NOT allowed if the arriving and departing flights are from different airports (i.e. Haneda / Narita) as you would have to actually enter Japan to do so and they are even harder than Taiwan as to who they let in.

And yes, forget any thought of going via Hong Kong as a cancelled flight out of there could see you doing 21 days in the Quarantine Jail. I think HK even demand a test for those just transferring too!!!

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yes, I think I probably should just nix HK as a transfer location, even if it means a much cheaper flight. I am vehemently against the regime in China, so it could entail some risk for me. and then restrictions like that make it even less appealing.

I’ve been looking at direct flights to my home city from Taipei, they do exist, but are extremely expensive. I’m thinking of trying to transfer in Japan or Korea, or flying to SF and then trying to get a cheap domestic flight. I might only save a few hundred bucks, but things could get complicated. I’ve yet to get a vaccine, but probably will before flying. It doesn’t seem that getting vaccinated makes things any easier. But my real concern is getting COVID once in the US and possibly being hospitalized due to it and racking up a year or two’s salary in hospital bills. Then not to mention that if I do have it, then it means an even longer extended quarantine upon arrival in Taiwan.

You are not helping your cause with that. I suggest that you go out today and get shot #1 for starters as you could even find that some Airlines wont give you a Boarding pass without a Vaccination Certificate.

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so while there is no national policy from the US or Taiwan about having a vaccine, the airlines have their own policies about that?

Some countries have Vaccine Policies for those arriving - it can make a difference between Quarantine or being Free when you get there.

Likewise some Airlines have Vaccine policies, and that dictates whether they let you board their plane.

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They don’t

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Cathay Pacific says differently -

"Transit requirements

All passengers with travel history in the past 21 days from overseas countries and Taiwan transiting through Hong Kong are required to present a medical certificate indicating a negative COVID-19 test result. The test must be taken within 48 hours of the scheduled departure time of the flight to Hong Kong. Passengers must also present separate documentary proof that the laboratory conducting the test is certified to conduct such tests.
Specific documentation requirements exist. Please see the “test reports” and “documentary proof” section below for details".

You use the same one you have for Taiwan…

They’re not making you get two.

True, but make sure you have the 48 hours or whatever sorted, else what’s good departing Taipei might be over 48 when departing HK.

Either way, the onerous restrictions in HK make it clear that they don’t want transits, the harder it is the less that will travel.

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Any ideas where to get an antigen test accepted by United Airlines to US? Seems like all hospitals provide PCR test only.

Taiwan Adventist Hospital, NT$1200

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Does anyone know how long it takes for the results of the antigen test to come back?

My grandma passed away and am looking at taking an emergency trip back to the US on Sunday, but currently live in Hsinchu

Can I take an antigen Saturday morning and have results Saturday afternoon?

The one day requirement seems a little ridiculous

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I am sorry for your loss! Antigen test should take less than 30 minutes. Try Tong Yen General Hospital since you are in Hsinchu.