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HHS/CDC RIN: 0920-AA75 Publication ID: Fall 2023 
Title: Control of Communicable Diseases; Foreign Quarantine 

This rulemaking amends current regulation to enable CDC to require airlines to collect and provide to CDC certain data elements regarding passengers and crew arriving from foreign countries under certain circumstances.

Agency: Department of Health and Human Services(HHS)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 42 CFR 71   
Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 264    42 U.S.C. 265   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

In order to control the introduction, transmission, and spread of communicable diseases such as COVID-19 into the United States, the collection of traveler contact information helps ensure that CDC and state and local health authorities are able to identify and locate persons arriving in, or transiting through, the United States from a foreign country who may have been exposed to a communicable disease abroad.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

The Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 264 and 268) authorizes the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to make and enforce regulations necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the United States, or from one State or possession into any other State or possession. Regulations that implement federal quarantine authority are currently promulgated in 42 CFR parts 70 and 71. CDC’s authority for collecting these data fields is contained in 42 CFR 71.4.


The transmission of disease, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, has the potential to lead to thousands or millions of deaths in addition to the significant healthcare and economic costs. Follow-up with passengers arriving from foreign countries who may be infectious or exposed to a communicable disease is critical. The alternative to collecting traveler contact information before their flight is to collect the information from airlines following the passenger’s flight. When this was done in the past, some airlines took several days to respond to a single request if the information was available. In addition, there is significant time and labor required for CDC to obtain additional information from federal databases and process the received information into a format suitable for distribution to state and local health authorities in the United States. As a result, obtaining contact information after a flight, assuming that information is available, can lead to a delay of several days before health authorities can start contacting potentially exposed travelers. This time delay allows for travelers to be lost to follow-up or become symptomatic or infectious. The time required and costs incurred under this alternative increase exponentially with multiple post-flight manifest requests to airlines.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

The annual, ongoing costs to collect traveler contact information, in the form of airline and travel agency staff time and passenger time, are estimated to be approximately $285 million. This does not include the initial costs for updating IT systems and employee training, which have already been incurred. The costs to the government are minimal, as the vast majority of passenger information that is being collected is transmitted to the government via established data systems that are already in use for other purposes.

The benefits to this rulemaking include rapid follow-up by public health authorities with passengers who may be infectious or exposed to a communicable disease, resulting in less spread and transmission of disease into and throughout the United States, helping to prevent public health and economic costs. The availability of passenger contact data may be used by public health authorities to slow the introduction and transmission of novel infectious diseases, including new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19 disease.


The risk to not collecting this information is that CDC would have to revert to previous ways of obtaining this information for public health follow up. Some of those methods were time intensive and resulted in delays in follow up.

The risk, although minimal, in collecting this information is that airlines and international passengers often do not want to comply (or may not want to comply) with the requirement. To date, however, CDC has found instances of noncompliance have been very limited.

Action Date FR Cite
Interim Final Rule Effective  02/07/2020 
Interim Final Rule  02/12/2020  85 FR 7874   
Interim Final Rule Comment Period End  03/13/2020 
Final Action  10/00/2024 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Ashley C. Altenburger JD
Regulatory Analyst
Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road NE, MS: H 16-4,
Atlanta, GA 30307
Phone:800 232-4636