U.S. Travel Restrictions Due to Novel Coronavirus


President Trump has issued three proclamations in recent weeks suspending the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of individuals who were physically present within the Schengen Area, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the People’s Republic of China during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States, subject to certain exceptions. Please find a summary of these restrictions below. As many of you have experienced in the past few weeks, U.S. embassies around the world have been affected, including postponing and cancelling of appointments. We are working hard with all our clients to ensure these get rescheduled and that all parties are aware of the latest updates for your embassy and upcoming appointment. Our advice for those inside the U.S. is to limit all unnecessary travel, especially internationally, during this time of uncertainty. In addition to last-minute policy changes from the Trump administration, flight ability and airport restrictions pose additional challenges for international travel.


1. Schengen Area

On March 11, President Trump issued a proclamation, effective 11:59 pm (ET), March 13, 2020, that with some exemptions, suspends and limits the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of individuals who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. The proclamation will remain in effect until terminated by the President.

During an address to the nation on Wednesday night from the Oval Office, President Trump stated that this suspension will remain in place for at least 30 days in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. It has since been reported by some media outlets that the President has indicated that it is possible that the suspension could extend beyond, or end before, the 30 days.


For purposes of this proclamation, the Schengen Area comprises 26 European states: 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 suspension and limitation on entry of this proclamation does not apply to:

  • persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United Sates that departed prior to 11:59 pm (EST) on March 13, 2020;

  • any lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States;

  • any alien who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or LPR;

  • any alien who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or LPR, provided that the U.S. citizen or LPR is unmarried and under the age of 21;

  • any alien who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or LPR, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21;

  • any alien who is the child, foster child, or ward of a U.S. citizen or LPR, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;

  • any alien traveling at the invitation of the U.S. Government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus;

  • any alien traveling pursuant to a C-1, D, or C-1/D nonimmigrant visa as a crewmember or any alien otherwise traveling to the U.S. as air or sea crew;

  • any alien (A) seeking entry into or transiting the U.S. pursuant to one of the following visas: A-1, A2, 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); or (B) whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement;

  • any alien 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;

  • any alien whose entry would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee;

  • any alien whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees; or

  • members of the U.S. Armed Forces and spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces.


2. Islamic Republic of Iran


On February 29, President Trump issued Proclamation 9992 suspending and limiting the entry of all individuals who were physically present within the Islamic Republic of Iran during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States, subject to certain exceptions. This proclamation is in effect as of Monday, March 2.


This proclamation does not apply to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents of the United States. Foreign diplomats traveling to the United States on A or G visas are excepted from this proclamation. Other exceptions include certain family members of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, including spouses, children (under the age of 21), parents (provided that the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21), and siblings (provided that both the sibling and the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident are unmarried and under the age of 21). There is also an exception for crew traveling to the United States on C, D or C1/D visas.


3. People’s Republic of China

On January 31, 2020, President Trump issued Proclamation 9984 suspending and limiting the entry of all individuals who were physically present in 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, subject to certain exceptions.The proclamation is in effect as of Sunday, February 2.


This proclamation does not apply to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents of the United States. Foreign diplomats traveling to the United States on A or G visas are excepted from this proclamation. Other exceptions include certain family members of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, including spouses, children (under the age of 21), parents (provided that the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21), and siblings (provided that both the sibling and the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident are unmarried and under the age of 21). There is also an exception for crew traveling to the United States on C, D or C1/D visas.


Designated U.S. Airports to Receive Flights with Recent Travelers to China or Iran

Per instructions issued by DHS for inbound flights with individuals who have been in China and Iran, the Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Transportation Security Administration, Center for Disease Control, and airlines, has directed all such flights to the United States to eleven airports, where health protocols have been implemented to account for treatment and handling of individuals who might have contracted the virus. Those returning from the Schengen nations may also be routed to these 11 airports. These airports include:

  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York

  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in Illinois

  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in California

  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) in Washington

  • Daniel K Inouye International Airport (HNL) in Hawaii,

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) in Georgia

  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in New Jersey

  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in Texas

  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) in Michigan

  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in California, and

  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD) in Virginia

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