Mar 12, 2020
U.S. Expands Coronavirus Travel Restrictions to Recent Visitors to Europe
Jonathan A. Grode and Joshua H. Rolf
- United States now barring entry to non-U.S. Citizens/Lawful Permanent Residents physically present in almost all of Europe within 2 weeks of seeking admission – even those with valid immigrant or nonimmigrant visas – effectively closing off most European travel to United States
- United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland exempted
- Like earlier proclamation, immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens/Lawful Permanent Residents and NATO/UN/Diplomatic personnel amongst those exempted
- In effect as of March 13, 2020 at 11:59 PM EST
With the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in the United States topping 1,000 and after the virus was officially labeled a pandemic by the World Health Organization, President Trump announced Wednesday evening that previously implemented restrictions would be extended to individual who, before to traveling to the United States, were physically present in the following European countries within fourteen days of travel:
- 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.
Citing the region’s high rate of proliferation within these countries and exportation outside of continental Europe in recent weeks, the Proclamation bars a foreign national who does not fall in the below-provided (and at this point, familiar) list from even boarding a flight to the United States. The Proclamation also noticeably omits the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
During his primetime address to the nation, President Trump indicated that the restrictions would last 30 days. The text of the Proclamation, however, does not provide a firm end-date; instead, and similar to prior Proclamations on this subject, it provides this version’s effective date and time – 11:59 PM EST on the evening of Friday, March 13, 2020, indicates the order “shall remain in effect until terminated by the President,” and mandates reviews no more than 15 days following the Proclamation and on the 1st and 15th of every month thereafter with the guidance of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”). With the travel restrictions impacting visitors to China having been in place for nearly 6 weeks and without any sign of the Coronavirus slowing down, these restrictions could very well last beyond the 30 days advertised.
Once again, this Proclamation does not apply to U.S. Citizens or anyone who falls into one of the following exceptions:
- U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents;
- Which does not include individuals with immigrant visas who have not entered the United States and assumed Lawful Permanent Residency;
- Spouses of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents;
- Parents and Legal Guardians of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents, so long as the Citizen/Permanent Resident is are unmarried and under 21;
- Siblings of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents, so long as both the sibling and the Citizen/Permanent Resident are unmarried and under 21;
- Children, foster children, or wards of U.S. Citizens of Lawful Permanent Residents, or children who are prospective adoptees seeking to enter the United States on IR-4 or IH-4 Visas;
- Foreign Nationals traveling at the invitation of the U.S. government, for a purpose related to containing or mitigating the Coronavirus;
- Nonimmigrant crew members;
- Foreign nationals seeking entry to, or transiting through, the United States under an A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4 or NATO-6 visa;
- Foreign nationals whose entry does not pose a significant risk of transmitting the virus, as determined by the HHS Secretary of Centers for Disease Control Director;
- Foreign nationals whose entry is in furtherance of important U.S. law enforcement interests, or whose admission is in the U.S. national interest; and
- Members of U.S. Armed Forces and spouses/children of members of U.S. Armed Forces.
In addition, and as was the case with prior iterations, this Proclamation remains neutral on its affect to individuals’ ongoing access to asylum, withholding of removal, or protections under the Convention Against Torture, as well as adjustment and change of status applications submitted within the United States. Likewise, this Proclamation’s silence on the fate of those allowed entry to the United States suggests enhanced screening and quarantine procedures will remain in place.
As the Coronavirus continues to disrupt daily life around the globe, we at Green and Spiegel remain acutely aware of the imposition ongoing travel restrictions place on our clients’ personal and professional lives. We continue to monitor this quickly developing situation very closely, and are always a phone call away should you require advice on how these restrictions will impact your travel.