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Travel Requirements

COVID-19 Testing Requirements for Travel

Northwestern’s COVID-19 testing program is focused on identifying cases within the Northwestern community and limiting the spread and transmission of the virus on campus. Northwestern will provide testing for students, faculty and staff for the purposes of personal or University-related travel. The information below outlines travel-related travel processes.

Rapid Antigen Testing

A rapid antigen test detects protein fragments specific to the Coronavirus. Turnaround time for results is usually speedy, and in most cases, results can be reported within 30 minutes. Generally a rapid antigen test is appropriate if you are asymptomatic (no symptoms). If you are a student, faculty, or staff member and need a rapid antigen test for your travel needs, you can visit the Jacobs Center (Evanston) or 345 E. Superior St. (Chicago) and complete your test within the necessary time frame. Upon arrival, please inform a staff member on what type of test you need to complete so they can direct you to the designated testing area. You do not need to make an appointment.

Our Testing Schedule

Jacobs Center 2001 Sheridan Rd (On-Site testing): M-F 9am-4pm

345 E. Superior (On-Site testing): M-F 9am-4pm

Please note that if you have other specific requirements outside of rapid antigen or PCR testing, please consult your healthcare provider or another testing facility that meets your specific requirements. A list of testing sites available in Illinois can be found on the IDPH website.

PCR Testing

Also called a molecular test, this COVID-19 test detects genetic material of the virus using a lab technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR tests are used to directly screen for the presence of viral RNA, which will be detectable in the body before antibodies form or symptoms of the disease are present. This means the tests can tell whether or not someone has the virus very early on in their illness. The PCR test is the “gold standard” test for diagnosing COVID-19 because it’s considered the most accurate and reliable test, although results will take longer (2-3 days) than the rapid antigen test.

If you are a student, faculty or staff member and need a PCR test, you can visit the Jacobs Center (Evanston) or 345 E. Superior St. (Chicago) and complete your test within the necessary time frame. You do not need to make an appointment. Please inform a staff member upon arrival that you will need a PCR test and they will show you to the designated testing area.

Traveling to Northwestern

If you are a student, faculty or staff member traveling domestically or internationally to campus, you are not required to quarantine, regardless of your vaccination status. If you are unvaccinated and plan on obtaining a vaccine to meet Northwestern’s vaccine requirement, please start this process upon arrival. You will be required to participate in increased levels of COVID-19 testing, masking and quarantine/isolation procedure until you are fully vaccinated.