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Laboratory Field Services

Important COVID-19 Information for Travelers

Beginning July 29, 2020, travelers entering Hong Kong must have a SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test for COVID-19 disease within 72 hours before the scheduled time of departure of a flight for Hong Kong. The following documents are required for boarding:

  1. The test report in English or Chinese issued by a laboratory or healthcare institution bearing the name of the traveler identical to that in the traveler’s valid travel document to show that:
    • The traveler underwent a nucleic acid test for COVID-19, the sample for which was taken from the relevant traveler within 72 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the specified aircraft;
    • The test conducted on the sample is a nucleic acid test for COVID-19; and
    • The result of the test is the traveler was tested negative for COVID-19; and
  2. If the report is not in English or Chinese or does not contain all of the information listed above, a written confirmation in English or Chinese issued by the laboratory or healthcare institution bearing the name of the traveler identical to that in the traveler’s valid travel document, setting out all of the information listed above and presented together with the test report; and
  3. Documentary proof in English or Chinese to show that the laboratory or healthcare institution is ISO 15189 accredited or is recognized or approved by the relevant authority of the government of the place in which the laboratory or healthcare institution is located; and
  4. Confirmation in English or Chinese of a room reservation in a hotel in Hong Kong for not less than 14 days starting on the day of the traveler’s arrival in Hong Kong.

For more updated information about these requirements please visit the Hong Kong government Coronavirus webpage.

Other countries or states may also require documentation that COVID-19 testing was performed by a government-approved laboratory.
Laboratory Field Services is the licensing program for clinical laboratories in California and can provide a letter verifying laboratory approval by the government of the State of California.

If you need a letter from the State of California verifying approval of the laboratory performing your COVID-19 test, please send an email to LFSCOVID@cdph.ca.gov with the following information:

  • The name and complete address (including street address and zip code) of the laboratory performing the test.
    • If you visit a site such as a pharmacy or a drive-through test site where the sample is collected but the actual test is performed at another laboratory, please be sure to provide the name and address of the laboratory that actually performs the test.
    • The address of the testing laboratory must include street address, city, state, and zip code.
  • The mailing address where you want LFS to send the letter by USPS.
  • The email address where you want LFS to send the scan of the letter, if different from the email you use to contact LFS.

When LFS receives your request, we will verify the licensure of the laboratory, email you a scan of the verification letter, and mail the original letter within 24 weekday hours of receiving your request. We will process requests sent after office hours or on weekends on the next business day.

Laboratory Field Services does not have a comprehensive list of all labs that provide nucleic acid COVID-19 testing, but you can use the following resources to locate a lab:

  • Ask your health care provider.
  • Check the California COVID-19 webpage to find a testing site near you.
  • Check with the local health officer of your county.
  • Check the list of labs performing COVID-19 testing on the California Testing Task Force list. This is a partial list of labs available to perform COVID-19 testing.

Please note:

  • An antigen test or an antibody test will not be accepted. Check to make sure you have a nucleic acid test.
    • Some of the other names for the test are "polymerase chain reaction" ("PCR"), "reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction" ("RT-PCR"), "real time RT-PCR", "real-time PCR", "nucleic test", “nucleic acid amplification test" ("NAAT"), "TrueNAT", "CBNAAT", "Loop-mediated isothermal amplification" ("LAMP").
    • "SARS-CoV-2" is the term for the virus that causes “COVID-19” disease, and a laboratory may use either term for the test.
  • Test turnaround times are difficult to predict, due to the unprecedented volume of testing in response to the COVID-19 emergency. To be sure you receive the results in time for your flight, ask how long it will take to receive results.
  • US mail is experiencing delays during the COVID-19 emergency. LFS will try to mail the letter within 24 hours of your request, but please allow sufficient time for the mail to reach you.
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