Repatriation Flights – FAQ
To receive the most updated information available we recommend you monitor our social media and the website linked below:
The USG issued a Level 4 Health advisory, but I can’t return to the USA because El Salvador’s airports are closed for a national quarantine. What should I do?
We have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas. We are continuously assessing travel conditions in all areas affected by COVID-19, and will continue to update our travel advisories and safety information for U.S. travelers as situations evolve.
U.S. citizens in El Salvador should:
- Monitor the Embassy’s website for the most up-to-date information
- Enroll in STEP at STEP.state.gov to receive the latest updates from the Embassy
- Follow the advice of the CDC and local health authorities that you can find at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
- Check with your airlines regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
- Monitor the Department of State’s COVID-19 website at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-information.html
Is it true that there are flights going to the US?
Yes. We are actively coordinating evacuation and humanitarian flights to depart from the international airport in El Salvador. Please visit our website for the https://sv.usembassy.gov /latest information on flight opportunities.
What is the difference between a humanitarian flight and an evacuation flight?
Humanitarian flights are private airline flights. You can book these flights directly with the private airline. Evacuation flights are arranged by the U.S. government, and must be booked through the U.S. embassy. You must follow the instructions on the Embassy webpage to be contacted as evacuation flights become available. Both humanitarian flights and evacuation flights are only available to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.
I do not have COVID-19, but I have a minor cold. Can I still travel?
No. Anyone with flu-like symptoms will not be allowed to board a flight. Travelers exhibiting flu-like symptoms should not come to the airport. These individuals should self-quarantine and seek medical attention if their symptoms worsen.
How are there flights to the U.S. when the airport is closed?
These are humanitarian flights and evacuation flights that have special permission to land in El Salvador and provide one-way travel to the United States. These flights are only available to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.
Who can purchase a ticket for these flights?
Humanitarian flights are for U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States and can be purchased directly from the airlines according to the information on the embassy website. For the USG-sponsored evacuation flights, the embassy will contact those persons who have expressed interest per the instructions on the Embassy website as those flights become available.
Why does the humanitarian flight ticket cost more than commercial prices before the airport closed?
The Humanitarian Flights are operated by private airlines who set their own prices, which we have seen are higher than the pre-COVID market pricing. However, these flights offer a travel schedule to a set location. You may get one to two luggage allowances, and you can work with the airline on pet travel options. If you have an urgent need to return to the USA, we strongly urge you to consider this option. For those with more flexible return timetables and need a lower cost ticket, please register to board a U.S. Government organized evacuation flight. There is no schedule for these flights, and time/destinations are subject to change. While the exact cost of evacuation flights has not been determined, the price should be comparable to a full-fare economy commercial flight price before the #COVID19 outbreak. However, these flights may have baggage /pet restrictions and do not operate on a set schedule. You would have to pay airport exit fees, approximately $50 in cash at the airport, you would be billed at a later date. Visit: https://sv.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/ for current flight information and instructions on how to express interest in the evacuation flight. .
Are US-government sponsored evacuation flights free?
All passengers must by law sign a promissory note prior to boarding the evacuation flight. You will receive a bill after returning to the United States. While the exact cost of the flights has not been determined, the price should be comparable to a full-fare economy commercial flight available before the COVID-19 outbreak. Upon arrival at the airport, be prepared to pay $50 in cash for airport taxes imposed by the Salvadoran government.
Are we going to get stopped if we travel to the airport?
In order to aid you with safe transit to the airport, either the private airline you booked your flight with or, for government-sponsored travel, the U.S. Embassy, will be sending you a transit letter via email. We recommend that if possible, you print out this letter along with your flight ticket, or have it readily available on your phone if printing is not an option.
How do I get to the airport? Can a friend drop me off?
We advise you to use a Taxi service (yellow cab) to go to the airport, since this service is allowed to function during this time. If you are traveling in a large group, we recommend you split up in two or more Taxis.
Do you know if/when more flights are coming up?
The U.S. Embassy in El Salvador is actively working to arrange additional travel possibilities for U.S. citizens who wish to return home. Visit our website for daily updates.
When will the airport be open again?
For information on the airport status we refer you to the official El Salvador government channels. The U.S. Embassy in El Salvador has no control over the measures currently in effect by the Salvadoran Government.
Can I book one of the commercial flight tickets being sold online to depart El Salvador after April 5th?
The Government of El Salvador has closed El Salvador’s international airport to all commercial arrival and departure flights, and they have indicated that the airport will reopen for commercial flights on April 19. HOWEVER, if you choose to book a commercial flight now, we strongly recommend that your ticket is exchangeable or refundable.
I need to go to a different state than the humanitarian/evacuation flight. Will you help me get to my final destination?
Destination options are limited. While the flight will land in the United States, you will be responsible for arranging and paying for travel to your final destination, including domestic flights, lodging, and local transport costs. The destination will be announced as soon as the information becomes available.