The Biden Administration is expanding and strengthening travel restrictions to the U.S. as new strains of the coronavirus emerge globally.
SOUTH AFRICA ADDED TO LIST OF TRAVEL RESTRICTED COUNTRIES
The Biden Administration issued an Executive Order extending COVID-related travel restrictions to foreign national travelers from South Africa. The South Africa restriction will take effect January 30, 2021 at 12:01 AM ET. Impacted travelers restricted from entering the U.S. will include most foreign nationals who have been physically present in South Africa at any point during the 14 day period prior to arrival in the U.S.
The order also maintains similar travel restrictions imposed for foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. from Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Schengen Area countries (Austria, Belgium, the 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). Prior to leaving office, the Trump administration sought to lift the travel restrictions for Europe and Brazil effective January 26, but the Biden Administration order reverses that directive, and keeps the restrictions in place.
Who is Exempted from the Bans?
The regional entry restrictions do not apply to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Also exempted are:
- noncitizen nationals of the United States;
- any noncitizen who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
- any noncitizen who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21;
- any noncitizen who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21;
- any noncitizen who is 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
- any noncitizen traveling at the invitation of the U.S. government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus;
- any noncitizen traveling as a nonimmigrant pursuant to a C-1, D, or C-1/D nonimmigrant visa as a crewmember or any noncitizen otherwise traveling to the United States as air or sea crew;
- any noncitizen seeking entry into or transiting the U.S. pursuant to one of 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); or whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement;
- any noncitizen who is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and any noncitizen who is a spouse or child of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces
- any noncitizen whose entry would further important U.S. 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;
- any noncitizen whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees.
How Long with the Bans Remain in Effect
The restrictions will remain in effect until terminated by the President, and will be subject to monthly review and recommendation regarding continuance, modification or termination from the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
CDC TESTING REQUIREMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVELERS
The CDC also issued updated instructions for international travelers, including an order requiring all air passengers traveling to the U.S. from a foreign country to get tested for COVID-19 no more than three days before boarding a flight to the U.S. Pursuant to the CDC order:
- All passengers age 2 years and older must provide written or electronic proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 prior to boarding a flight to the U.S. This requirement includes U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.
- Documentation of recovery must be a letter from a licensed health care provider or public health official stating that the passenger has been cleared for travel.
- Passengers must present evidence of the negative test result or recovery documentation to the air carrier prior to boarding the flight, and may also be required to present the documentation to any U.S. government official or cooperating state or local public health authority once in the U.S.
- Additional information from the CDC regarding international travel is available here.
As we previously reported, proof of a negative test result does not exempt travelers from the regional travel bans referenced above. The bans prohibiting the admission of travelers from South Africa, the European Schengen Area, the United Kingdom and Ireland, China, Iran and Brazil remain in place. Individuals who are exempted from the regional travel bans and individuals who have been granted National Interest Exceptions to travel to the U.S. must still provide proof of the negative COVID-19 test result in order to travel to the U.S. as of January 26, 2021, consistent with the CDC order. Individuals who are otherwise subject to the regional travel bans remain restricted, and cannot travel to the U.S. even with a negative COVID-19 test result.
For additional information concerning travel restrictions to the U.S., please contact your designated Gibney representative or email firstname.lastname@example.org.