With the World Health Organization declaring the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, there is one more Presidential Proclamation expanding the suspension of international travel to the United States. With few exceptions, foreign nationals (immigrants and nonimmigrants) who have been in certain European countries will be subject to the travel restrictions.
As of Friday, March 13, 2020, the United States will suspend the entry of most immigrants and nonimmigrants who have been in the Schengen Area at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival in the United States. These European countries include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The list does not include the United Kingdom or Ireland.
[UPDATE: Effective March 16, 2020, another Presidential Proclamation suspends the entry of most immigrants and nonimmigrants who have been in the United Kingdom and Ireland during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival in the United States.]
This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 13. It does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to the cut-off time.
The travel restriction does not apply to a U.S. citizen or to:
- a lawful permanent resident of the United States
a spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
a parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (who is unmarried and under the age of 21)
a sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21)
a child, foster child, or ward of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to an IR-4 or IH-4 visa
a foreign national who is traveling at the invitation of the United States Government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus
a foreign national who is traveling on a C-1, D, or C-1/D nonimmigrant visa as a crewmember or otherwise traveling to the United States as air or sea crew
a foreign national seeking entry or transit with the following visas: A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of an official), E-1 (as an employee of TECRO or TECO or the employee’s immediate family members), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6 (or seeking to enter as a nonimmigrant in one of those NATO categories)
a foreign national traveling within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement
a foreign national whose entry would not pose a significant risk of introducing, transmitting, or spreading the virus, as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the CDC Director or his designee
a foreign national whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee;
a foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees
a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and his/her spouse and children
Click here a full text of the proclamation.
There are two other pre-existing Presidential Proclamations suspending travel due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which have the same exceptions noted in the European Schengen Area Proclamation.They include
1. Travel Suspension – China: immigrants and nonimmigrants who were physically present within the People’s Republic of China, excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. The proclamation went into effect on February 2. Click here for a full text of the proclamation.
2. Travel Suspension – Iran: immigrants and nonimmigrants who were physically present within the Islamic Republic of Iran within the past 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival in the United States. The proclamation went into effect as of March 2. Click here for a full text of the proclamation.
The stated purpose of these travel restrictions is to curb the spread of the outbreak. Crowded travel arenas, like airports, may increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19 ( SARS-CoV-2/coronavirus), if there are other travelers with COVID-19.
The characteristics of the illness, however, have not changed. Declaring an outbreak a “pandemic” means it has spread around the world beyond expectation, and not that it has become more dangerous to your health.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms are relatively mild and most people recover within six days. People at higher risk for severe disease are older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions (such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes). The CDC recommends that persons at higher risk for COVID-19 complications avoid all cruise travel and nonessential air travel.
As the Trump Administration noted, these travel restrictions are temporary. In the meantime, U.S. Consular Services, particularly in China and Italy, have reduced dramatically due to limited staffing and the suspensions on travel.
The Presidential Proclamations also direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to implement standards and procedures at and between all U.S. ports of entry to regulate the travel of persons and aircraft to the United States to facilitate the orderly medical screening and, where appropriate, quarantine of persons who enter the United States and who may have been exposed to the virus. “Such steps may include directing air carriers to restrict and regulate the boarding of such passengers on flights to the United States.”
This article provides general information only. It is based on law, regulations and policy that are subject to change. Do not consider it as legal advice for any individual case or situation. Each legal case is different and case examples do not constitute a prediction or guarantee of success or failure in any other case. The sharing or receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.