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I read this quote from the CDC reported by jcaron:

If I have one or more connecting flights to the US, does the 3-day period apply to the first flight or the last one? Do I need to get another test if I have a connecting flight?

If your itinerary has you arriving to the US via one or more connecting flights, your test can be taken within the 3 days before the departure of the first flight.

If the 3-day testing period expires before one of your connecting flights, you only need to get retested before boarding connecting flights if:

  • You planned an itinerary incorporating one or more overnight stays en route to the US. (NOTE: You do not need to be retested if the itinerary requires an overnight connection because of limitations in flight availability.), OR
  • The connecting flight is delayed past the 3-day limit of testing due to a situation outside of your control (e.g., delays because of severe weather or aircraft mechanical problem), and that delay is more than 48 hours past the 3-day limit for testing.

How does the CDC define an overnight stay?

E.g. any stay longer than x hours and including midnight? If the stay is between x AM and y AM, which set of {(x, y), x<y} turns it into an overnight stay? etc.

I don't mean to be overly scrupulous but a friend of mine is flying to see me in the US and his flight has a layover between 5 and 8 hours from very early AM (quite close to midnight) to the beginning of the morning, and I genuinely have no clue whether the CDC defines it as an overnight stay.

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    Is it not possible for your friend to take a test less than three days before their final flight's departure time? That would avoid the issue entirely.
    – Chris H
    Aug 12 '21 at 9:48
  • @ChrisH That'd increase the likelihood of not getting the test results on time. He'd also prefer not to have to take 2 tests before flying. Aug 12 '21 at 9:49
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    Is that a genuine risk? The site lists antigen tests as being acceptable. They can be done on site at most major airports and only take a few minutes to be processed. Obviously I don't know where your friend is travelling from, perhaps the test infrastructure is much weaker in their region.
    – Chris H
    Aug 12 '21 at 10:01
  • If he arrives after midnight and departs early morning, wouldn't he fall under the "limitation in flight availability" category? in many airports there are no flights in the small hours of the night.
    – ISAE
    Aug 12 '21 at 21:54
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There are two things:

  1. You need to be retested if you planned an itinerary incorporating one or more overnight stays en route to the US. But..
  2. You do not need to be retested if the itinerary requires an overnight connection because of limitations in flight availability.

In other words, if you are taking the first available flight at each of your connections then you don't need to be retested, regardless of whether the stay is "overnight" or not. If this applies to your friend they do not need to be retested.

See also this answer: How does the CDC decide whether an itinerary **requires** an overnight connection?

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  • Yep. You sure want to be "rested" before an overnight flight :-)
    – Hilmar
    Aug 13 '21 at 15:19
  • The exemption is a tiny bit narrower than "taking the first available flight at each connection", it seems to me. Suppose there are two available itineraries, one of which has a layover from 5 PM–10 PM and the other of which has a layover from 11 PM–8 AM. For both hypothetical itineraries, the second leg is the earliest available after the first leg arrives. My reading of the text is that you'd be required to use the first itinerary if you didn't want to be retested, since the available flights don't require an overnight stay. Aug 13 '21 at 15:23
  • Thanks, I don't know if the layover is perceived as "required": How does the CDC decide whether an itinerary requires an overnight connection? Aug 14 '21 at 0:00

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