Travel & Training

Testing & Self-Isolation

Official Domestic Travel

Follow the testing requirements for your destination. If a negative test is required, get tested 1-3 days before your travel begins. PCR tests take 24-48 hours to return, so plan accordingly so that you will have results in hand to present at the airport.

The cost of testing is reimbursable. If you obtain a COVID-19 test locally, submit the receipt for the test(s) with other travel receipts.

For civil servants: NASA has contracted with Quest Labs for COVID-19 tests for approved NASA travel. Once your travel orders are processed, you will receive instructions on how to have the test delivered to your home both before travel (for those areas that require a negative test within 72 hours) and after travel. NASA will cover the cost of tests associated with official government travel directly.

Upon return, you may get tested again 3-5 days after travel.

If you’ve been working on-site, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you stay home for seven days after travel if your test is negative and 10 days if you elect to not to get tested. This is not a mandate, but a precautionary measure. Work with your supervisor to determine whether your work requires you to return on-site immediately, or if you may telework for the recommended period.

It is imperative to check state and local conditions and restrictions before traveling within the United States, as many states and municipalities have further restricted or enhanced testing guidelines due to escalating cases in their area. Follow local restrictions and guidelines where possible.

For more information:

Official International Travel by NASA employees, International Partners, or other visitors to NASA Centers

It is imperative to check conditions and restrictions at the destination and in layover countries. Information may be available from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs Country Information webpages or through the airlines.

The CDC requires travelers inbound to the United States to have a negative COVID-19 test no more than three days prior to the start of travel. You will not be permitted to board the aircraft without a negative test. This is for all locations with inbound flights to the United States. The Quest Labs COVID-19 test cannot be used or delivered for the test required in the host country but may be ordered after arrival into the United States for post-travel testing if the traveler is on government travel orders.

Many countries require a negative test performed 72 hours prior to travel and entry into their country. It is recommended to have an RT-PCR test performed as opposed to a rapid antigen test, due to its higher sensitivity. Upon return to the United States, repeat testing should be performed 3-5 days after entry.

The CDC recommends self-isolating for seven full days if the return test is negative, and 10 days if no test is performed. Work with your supervisor to determine whether your work requires you to return on-site immediately, or if you may telework for the recommended period. Receipts for testing secondary to travel can be turned in with your other travel receipts, or you may obtain testing using the direct billing NASA contract.

International partners traveling from outside the United States to a NASA center

Countries that currently have quarantine or specific restrictions posted by the CDC or State Department must abide by those restrictions.

Upon entering the United States, travelers not subject to more restrictive requirements based on their country of origin should get tested between 3-5 days after travel AND isolate for a full seven days in their billeted quarters. If the test is negative, you may report on-site at a NASA center after the seventh day. If you do not get tested, you should isolate the full 10 days before reporting on-site.

All visitors to NASA centers should be asymptomatic (no fever, cough, sore throat, etc.), wear a face covering, practice social distancing and frequent hand washing/sanitation, and maintain vigilance with self-observation for any signs or symptoms in the week following their arrival.

The agency reserves the right to check visitors at the badging office for proof of testing and may deny access for non-compliance.

More information:

Travel Guidance By Stage

COVID-19 Testing and Travel

Several states and communities require testing upon entry and the CDC recommends testing before and after domestic travel.

The agency is making no-cost COVID-19 testing through Quest Diagnostics available to civil servants on official travel orders. If you are on official travel orders, the NASA travel office will provide you instructions on how to order your test.

Once you place your order online, the testing kit will arrive by FedEx within 24-36 hours. Follow the instructions in the kit, drop it off at the nearest FedEx location, and results will be available within 24 hours after Quest receives your test. You may also choose to obtain your test locally, if available and desired, and have the cost of the test reimbursed on your travel voucher.

All questions about travel and related COVID-19 testing should be directed to your center travel office.

Stage 4

All travel suspended

  • Must obtain approval by agency leadership for travel exceptions; if approved, the traveler must adhere to CDC and NASA guidelines regarding isolation following travel prior to entering a NASA facility.

Stage 3

Travel is limited to mission-critical activities where physical presence is required at another location. Approvals are delegated to the official in charge or designee.

  • Must obtain approval by the center director or designee.
  • If the travel is to an area that has not progressed in its gates, has a rebound of cases, or has high or increasing case counts, travel should not be approved.
  • Traveler must adhere to CDC and NASA center guidelines regarding physical distancing and mask wear while traveling and when entering a NASA facility.

Minimize international and non-programmatic travel and adhere to CDC and NASA guidelines regarding isolation following international travel prior to entering a NASA facility.

Stage 2

Travelers who are fully vaccinated may go on non-mission critical travel and should follow the standard, pre-pandemic process to submit a travel request to their center travel office.

If requesting non-mission critical travel, you are certifying that you are fully vaccinated, as required by federal guidelines. Making a false claim or statement (using NASA’s official travel system for non-mission essential/critical travel without meeting the vaccination requirement) can result in disciplinary action and – more importantly – can place you, others, and the agency at increased risk.

Employees who are not fully vaccinated are limited to mission-critical travel only, domestic, and international. Federal employees who are not fully vaccinated should take recommended precautions during mission-critical travel.

Stage 1

Maintain minimal non-essential travel. Travel to an area that has not progressed in its gates or experiences a rebound of cases should not be approved.

(updated: 07/22/2021)

Conferences & Training

All center on-site training and organizational development activities are postponed until the respective center reaches Stage 1, as outlined in NASA’s Return to Work Framework. In Stage 1, on-site activities will be evaluated and approved on a case-by-case basis by the respective center’s learning office to ensure the appropriate measures can be implemented, e.g., physical distancing in classrooms, cost considerations.

Conferences and other events not hosted by NASA and where the attendance is greater than 50 people will require review by the agency COVID-19 Executive Response Team in Stage 2 and the center director in Stage 1, and will be approved on a case-by-case basis. These reviews will take into account current CDC guidance, COVID-19 transmission rates at the conference location, criticality of the work done at the event, attendance requirements issued by the hosting organization, and the assessment of risk to NASA employees and the agency.

All training, conferences, and other developmental activities that can be held virtually will continue.

Most training that is required for NASA employees already is conducted virtually. Employees are encouraged to take advantage of the online resources available through SATERN. Completion of a short course “Getting Started with NASA’s SkillSoft and Books 24x7 Programs” will unlock materials in these two extensive libraries.

Award-winning curriculum and career development tools are also available from the Academy of Program/Project & Engineering Leadership (APPEL) and from the Safety and Mission Assurance Technical Excellence Program (STEP).

Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer and NSSC Training Administration Team contact:

(updated: 08/23/2021)