UPDATE 3/14/20 - UK and Ireland added to the list of restricted countries, starting at midnight US Eastern Time on Monday March 16.
Even if you are exempt from the restrictions, expect VERY long delays entering at US airports.
On March 11, 2020, President Trump announced major travel restrictions on visitors from Europe to the US, in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19. There is still a lot of uncertainty (including why the ban is limited to Schengen countries), and we will update this blog as we get more details.
When does the ban take effect?
March 13, 2020, for flights that departed before 11.59 p.m.
How long is the ban?
The Presidential Proclamation states that it “…shall remain in effect until terminated by the President.” In other words, there is no defined end date. President Trump has indicated that it will last for 30 days.
Who is exempt from the ban?
The ban does not apply to
1. US citizens and their spouses.
2. US permanent residents (LPRs) (green card holders) and their spouses.
3. Parents or legal guardians of US citizen or LPR children (unmarried and under 21).
4. Children (included adoptive and foster children) of US citizens or LPRs.
5. Foreign nationals traveling to the US for specific purposes, including
The ban does not affect anyone’s ability to apply for asylum, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.
What countries are affected?
The ban affects anyone (other than exempt categories above) who has visited a Schengen country within the 14 days before travelling to the US.
What is a Schengen country? Is it any European country?
Not all European countries are part of the Schengen agreement. The Schengen area includes
The Schengen area does NOT include the UK, Ireland, Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria, and others.
I am in France now. Can I get back to the US if I fly from London instead of Paris?
No. You re subject to the ban since you were in a Schengen country less than 2 weeks before trying to return to the US.
How will they know I was in a Schengen country? There is no stamp on my passport.
We don’t yet know how DHS and/or the airlines will monitor travel histories. A lot will probably depend on travelers being honest at interviews. We do not recommend “forgetting” a visit to a Schengen country or misleading an immigration official in any way. In addition to any health risks you might pose, there are serious consequences for immigration fraud.
I’m a US citizen in Europe. Can I just get on a plane to come home now?
Not exactly. Exempt travelers who have been in a Schengen country will need to travel through "select airports where the U.S. has implemented enhanced screening procedures." Vice President Pence said that there were 13 such airports, but hasn’t named them as of March 12, 2020. They will probably include:
· Dallas-Fort Worth
· Newark, N.J.
· New York City
· Los Angeles
· San Francisco
· Washington, D.C.
In addition, travelers who return to the U.S. from an affected country will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
For more information, contact us and check back here frequently. See also
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.