With the recent spike in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant, many would-be travellers have been infected and have had to reschedule their trips. In order to travel internationally, most countries require a negative COVID-19 test for entry. Unfortunately, in some cases, recovered patients may still test positive for up to 3 months after their initial positive test result.
As an alternative to a negative COVID test for entry, many countries are now asking for proof of a previous positive test and documentation of recovery from COVID-19. At Summit Health, our team of licensed medical professionals–including doctors, nurses and other allied health professionals–has been helping travelers provide proof of recovery for travel. We have shared some points below to answer questions about this new travel requirement.
What is a document of recovery or proof of recovery certificate?
Many countries around the world have begun asking travellers for documentation of recovery if they have recently been infected with COVID-19. For example for US-bound travellers, the CDC states “If you recently recovered from COVID-19, you may instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).”
Along with the positive test result, many countries require a letter that is issued by a licensed medical professional and explains that the patient has been cleared to leave isolation. Together, the positive COVID test and letter are called “documentation of recovery” or “proof of recovery.”
Each country will have slightly different requirements for entry, but other countries requesting similar documentation include Australia, the Netherlands, Italy and many other European countries.
What to do if you have tested positive for covid-19 but have recovered?
The first thing to do is to save your test results. Almost all countries will require that your test was performed at a lab or by a licensed medical professional. Certain countries also will require specific testing types (such as NAAT, PCR or Antigen), so it is important to look up your destination’s rules on the country’s immigration page. Typically at-home or antibody tests are not accepted.
After you have completed public health’s isolation period and your symptoms have improved (no fever or fever-reducing medications for at least 24 hours), you may be eligible to receive a letter of recovery. Note: while isolation may be reduced to 5 days, it is best practice to refrain from travel for at least 10 days after a positive test.
Always check with the requirements for your destination, as some countries require a longer time between a positive test and entry.
Do you have to be vaccinated to receive documentation of recovery?
No, in order to receive documentation you are not required to be vaccinated. However, many countries will not allow unvaccinated travelers, regardless of whether they have previously recovered from COVID-19. It is important to understand the vaccination requirements of your destination and airline, regardless of your recovery status.
How is Summit Health’s Documentation of Recovery issued?
In order to get your assessment started you must fill out our Documentation of Recovery request form and upload your positive COVID test result. From there, our team will review your application. If we require additional details to ensure your information is accurate or to determine your eligibility for a letter, we will set up a telemedicine appointment with one of our licensed medical professionals.
Do at-home covid tests work as proof of positivity?
Self-administered tests such as at-home antigen tests are not eligible unless they have been supervised and signed off on by a licensed medical professional, such as the virtual testing solutions offered by Summit Health.
Does Summit Health’s Letter of COVID-19 Recovery comply with the CDC’s requirements for Documentation of Recovery?
Yes, when paired with a positive COVID-19 viral test (antigen/PCR/NAAT), a Proof of COVID Recovery letter from Summit Health complies with the CDC Documentation of Recovery requirements. The Letter of Recovery is issued and signed by a licensed healthcare professional, and will only be issued if the patient has recovered and has completed their mandated isolation.