Cambodia, like some other countries, requires travelers to perform a COVID-19 test within x hours. Example. What happens if a flight to Cambodia is late by 1 or several hours and that as a result the COVID-19 test a travel performed is not anymore within x hours before the flight/boarding?

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    I was wondering the same thing last couple of days. How is it passenger's fault if the flight is delayed, the X hours should be calculated from the scheduled departure of the flight
    – Aak
    Commented Mar 7, 2021 at 4:11
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    @Aak Most of the rules I have seen seem to be based on some perceived risk for the country. It doesn't really matter what's your fault or not or whether coming back from some places becomes effectively impossible or very costly. Official travel advice from various ministries for foreign affairs increasingly reflect this (basically telling you in diplomatic terms that you are on your own if you go abroad).
    – Relaxed
    Commented Mar 7, 2021 at 13:12
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    There is no single answer and rules vary greatly. Some specify scheduled arrival (regardless of actual arrival), some specify start of itinerary (regardless of actual arrival), some specify actual departure or arrival times, some just specify calendar days (and not hours), which can be tricky if you push past midnight.
    – Hilmar
    Commented Mar 7, 2021 at 14:53
  • Did you show up at the gate on-time? Commented Mar 7, 2021 at 19:31
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    I had a similar issue entering Italy by train in December (the train was late and I crossed the border ~3h after the expiration of my test). No one noticed it or commented on it. Commented Mar 7, 2021 at 19:31

2 Answers 2


The rules for various countries are subtly different. Some require a test within x hours of departure, others within x hours of (scheduled) arrival, with or without provisions for unforeseen events. If the rules do not allow for exceptions, carriers would presumably have to deny boarding.

As an example, the Netherlands requires a PCR test within 72 hours of the scheduled time of arrival with an extra 24 hours for involuntary delays. This is as specific as it gets, boarding time is not relevant but there is a provision for short delays. This also means that a longer delay would be treated as having no valid test.

Germany's rules are even stricter. Depending on where you have been in the last ten days, you are required to present a test performed at most 48 hours before entry, no grace period or exceptions to my knowledge. If you consider the length of the flight and the time it takes for a lab to return a result, this leaves a very short window of time to get tested but that's still the rule. If that's not possible where you are, you might end up being stranded with no quick way to return to the country.

Another question is what happens if you make it to the border without the required test (maybe airline staff failed to notice the test wasn't up to the required standard, there was delay after departure, or you somehow managed to cheat your way onto a plane). What I have witnessed is that you would have to take a test then and there and be “invited” to isolate yourself (or join a managed isolation programme of some sort). As another example, France asks carriers to check you have a form consenting to all this in advance, should the need arise.

  • The Netherlands also require an antigen test within 4 hours of boarding, which could become outdated in case of even short delays: government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/…
    – Geir
    Commented Mar 8, 2021 at 5:34
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    @Geir It explicitly says it will remain valid even the flight is delayed and the passenger remains in the airport?
    – xngtng
    Commented Mar 8, 2021 at 10:21

In case of USA, it seems that you would need to be re-tested if your flight is late and has fallen outside the window of X hours. This is what I found on the U.S. Embassy website in The Czech Republic.

Q: What happens if my flight is delayed on my way to the United States and the 3 day time frame expires? Will I need to retest?

A: If your flight is delayed before departure, you will need to get re-tested if the delay causes your test to fall outside of the 3-day pre-departure testing period requirement. A delay while traveling on a continuous itinerary will not invalidate an otherwise valid test unless it results in you leaving the airport terminal or a layover lasting longer than 24 hours.


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