EAH Immigration Blog

Update on Corona Virus Outbreak and U.S. Travel Ban Expansion to Schengen Area Countries

On March 11th, 2020, President Trump issued a new Presidential Proclamation expanding the scope of two previously issued travel bans suspending entry of immigrants and nonimmigrants into the United States, with exceptions detailed below, in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 or“COVID-19”. The Proclamation, entitled, Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus, broadens previous travel restrictions (Proclamation 9984) announced on January 31, 2020 and expanded on February 29, 2020.

Beginning 11:59 p.m. EDT, March 13, 2020, the United States will expand travel restrictions to foreign nationals (immigrants or nonimmigrants) who were physically present within the European Schengen Area during the 14-day period immediately preceding entry or attempted entry into the United States. The Schengen Area includes: 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.

This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 13, 2020.

Who is affected as of March 13th, 2020?

Nonimmigrants and immigrants* physically present in the following counties within the 14-day period immediately preceding entry or attempted entry into the United States including:

  • People’s Republic of China (Mainland China), excluding Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan
  • Iran (certain Iranian nationals are also subject to an earlier travel ban)
  • European Schengen Area countries of: 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.

*certain individuals exempt from the travel restrictions are listed below

 How long will this travel ban be in place?

In his televised announcement, President Trump indicated this additional travel restriction would last for 30 days. However, the White House’s press release states the proclamation will remain in effect until terminated by the President (based on recommendations from the Secretary of Health and Human Services). We will continue to monitor the situation closely for further updates or developments.

How does this affect my visa appointment or other consular processes?

The Department of State has indicated that any U.S. Embassies and Consulates in these and other countries may limit or suspend consular operations at any time with little or no notice. For the latest updates from the Department of State, please visit travel.state.gov and/or the State Department’s Current Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 page.

Who is exempt from this new Presidential Proclamation?

The following categories of individuals are exempt from this temporary entry ban:

  • U.S. citizens (including those holding dual citizenship);
  • U.S. lawful permanent residents (“green card” holders);
  • The spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
  • The parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, if the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21;
  • The sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21;
  • The 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 the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
  • A foreign national traveling at the invitation of the U.S. government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus;
  • Nonimmigrant crewmembers (C-1, D or C-1/D visa holders);
  • Foreign nationals seeking entry or transiting the United States under an A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of such official), E-1 (as an employee of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) TECRO or Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) or immediate family member of such employee), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4 or NATO-6 visa;
  • A foreign national whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement;
  • A foreign national whose entry would not pose a significant risk of transmitting the virus, as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
  • A foreign national whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives as determined by the State Department or Department of Homeland Security;
  • A foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the State Department or Department of Homeland Security; or
  • Foreign national members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children.

This is a very recent development subject to change at any time. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide you with updates on these travel restrictions and how they may apply to you.

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