Travelling from Europe (Netherlands) to USA, and planning on bringing 25 Covid self tests (Flowflex brand). We are not checking any bags. They are currently in individual boxes.

Since these contain liquid, and they will be carry-on, do we need to break the boxes apart and put them in a clear bag?

Update after travelling: We ended up taking the liquid out and putting it in a clear plastic bag. Got a quizzical look from the Dutch when flying out but it wasn't an issue.

To address a couple of questions from the comments:

  • We were using these for our own/others safety/peace of mind, and not in order to pass a Covid test in front of any authority. If that was needed then you would want the boxes unopened.
  • We flew out of the Netherlands with 25 tests, so I can confirm this was ok on the Dutch side. Somebody pointed out below that its not really a TSA question unless you are flying out of the US or domestically there. We did fly back (US->NL) with a couple of remaining tests in clear plastic bag and that was fine also.
  • Anecdotally, I flew recently from the US to Mexico (and took additional flights within Mexico) with a couple of covid tests in my carryon, and they were not noticed by any aviation security. But the US and Mexico are not Europe, and two tests are not 25 tests, so your results very well be different.
    – mlc
    Nov 22, 2021 at 2:06
  • At least in the last self tests I bought (packs of 5), the vials with the test solution were already packed separately in a clear zip-lock bag within the cardboard box. It would be very easy to repack the vials in a separate, clear plastic bag without doing any damage to the test kits. Nov 22, 2021 at 11:23

1 Answer 1


I have heard both sides of the situation: some have been stopped because they didn't put the liquid in a clear bag and some kept the liquid in the box without any issues.

The TSA says:

Placing these items in the small bag and separating from your carry-on baggage facilitates the screening process.

Since you have 25 COVID self-tests, the liquid has a high possibility of being detected when screening. To avoid any hold-ups, I recommend putting them in a clear bag to avoid any issues.

  • 3
    This would likely involve opening the test box, which probably isn't a good idea in general... Also, unless the traveller is connecting to a domestic flight, the TSA rules are not relevant.
    – Doc
    Nov 21, 2021 at 18:29
  • @Doc I don't see much harm in just taking the liquid out and sealing the box again (considering the test is sealed separately in the box).
    – Xnero
    Nov 21, 2021 at 18:30
  • @Doc The TSA rules are quoted as general guidance rather than actual rules. The quote applies practically everywhere. i.e. Putting the liquid in the clear bag will speed up the screening process and will avoid unnecessary delays.
    – Xnero
    Nov 21, 2021 at 18:42
  • 1
    @Xnero My Abbott BinaxNOW test boxes were sealed with a big warning not to open it at all, and the test proctor required me to demonstrate the seal. My test would've been invalidated had I taken the liquid out. (This makes sense; you could swap out a fake component fairly easily.)
    – ceejayoz
    Nov 22, 2021 at 15:31
  • @ceejayoz The OP asked for the legal thing to do, and that is what I provided in my answer. If I had ~50ml of liquid in my suitcase, I would definitely but it into a clear bag.
    – Xnero
    Nov 22, 2021 at 19:15

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