In an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, US President Donald Trump announced on March 11 that entry into the United States has been suspended for all individuals who were physically present in the Schengen area—comprising 26 European states—during the 14-day period preceding their anticipated entry into the country. This travel restriction, which is slated to remain in place for an initial 30-day period, will take effect at 11:59 pm ET on March 13. Passengers on flights that departed prior to this date and time will not be subject to the suspension. The suspension will be applied at all US ports of entry, including land and sea ports.
For purposes of the travel restriction, the Schengen area includes the following countries: 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.
Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, and the United Kingdom are not part of the Schengen area and therefore are not subject to the travel restriction. As such, individuals from these five countries who have not traveled to any of the 26 implicated countries during the past 14 days should not be impacted.
Classes Exempted from the Travel Restriction
The following classes of individuals are not subject to the suspension:
- US citizens
- US green card holders (permanent residents)
- Spouses of US citizens and green card holders
- Parents and legal guardians of US citizens and green card holders (as long as the US citizen or green card holder is under the age of 21 and unmarried)
- Siblings of US citizens and green card holders (as long as both are under the age of 21 and unmarried)
- Children, foster children, wards, or prospective adoptees of US citizens and green card holders
- Individuals invited to the United States by the government for purposes of containing or mitigating COVID-19
- Nonimmigrant crew members
- Various foreign government, NATO, and United Nations officials and qualifying immediate family members
- Members of the US Armed Forces and their spouses and children
The administration has clarified that all exempt categories of individuals will be properly screened for COVID-19 prior to US admission.
Other US Local and International Rules to Consider
Individuals traveling to the United States should check local rules and take appropriate measures as required. New York has implemented new screening rules for passengers arriving at or departing from New York City. Travelers returning to the state with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be required to self-quarantine. Meanwhile, Sacramento County has lifted its automatic 14-day quarantine as of March 10 and directed residents to go into isolation if they become symptomatic. The suspension of entry to the United States for all aliens physically present within the People’s Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) and Iran during the 14-day period preceding their entry into the United States remains in effect.