Updated on March 12, 2020
Beginning March 13, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. EST, the countries below have been added the entry suspension, similar to the 14-day entry suspension Iran and China.
This White House proclamation does not apply to people aboard a U.S. bound flight that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. EST.
New countries added to the suspension: 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.
Updated on March 10, 2020
Beginning March 2, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 2020, the entry of persons physically present in Iran was also suspended substantially similar to the entry suspension for people physically present in China.
Exceptions to the entry suspension are the same as for China but include:
- E-1 visa holders
- People whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, their spouses, and children
NTC Screening Passengers
We have learned that Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center (NTC) is screening passenger manifests for people who they have reason to believe have been in China or Iran in the last 14 days.
Because people are traveling to third countries to stay for the 14-day suspension period, it is difficult for the NTC to determine these facts. They are erring on the side of safety by prohibiting boarding for persons who are suspected of not fulfilling the 14-day period outside of China or Iran.
If you have fulfilled the suspension period in a third-country and are being refused boarding, the first step is to bring evidence of your stay, such as receipts for hotels, purchases or other documents. The second step is to ask the airline to contact the Regional Carrier Liaison Group and present the documents to the NTC for consideration.
If these steps do not work, please contact your attorney. Note that the NTC has sometimes instructed the airline not to tell passengers why they are being refused boarding. You must take the initiative to prove your compliance with the 14-day period.
Unlike the groundhog, the Trump Administration has not spent January sleeping. It issued several consequential announcements in the last week of January, getting a jump on Punxsutawney Phil.
These include: expanding the “travel ban” to more countries for certain persons, implementation of the “public charge” rule after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed this to go forward, issuing a new I-9 form, and suspending entry of foreign nationals who have visited China 14 days preceding their entry, which is the focus of this article. The others will be covered in subsequent posts this week.
Coronavirus Travel Ban
A presidential proclamation suspends entry of certain foreign nationals who were in China during the 14-day period preceding their attempted entry.
In other words, if you are not a U.S. citizen, were in China, Hong Kong, or Macau in the 14 days before your planned entry, and do not qualify for one of the exceptions stated in the Proclamation, you cannot enter the United States.
The following groups are excluded from the entry ban:
- Lawful permanent residents of the United States
- Spouses of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
- Parents or legal guardians 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
- Siblings of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21
- Children, foster children, or wards of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or those who are prospective adoptees seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications
- Those traveling at the invitation of the United States Government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus
- Those traveling as a nonimmigrant under section 101(a)(15)(C) or (D) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(C) or (D), as a crewmember or any alien otherwise traveling to the United States as air or sea crew
- Those seeking entry into or transiting the United States pursuant to an A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of an official), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6 visa
- Those whose entry would not pose a significant risk of introducing, transmitting, or spreading the virus, as determined by the CDC Director, or his designee
- Those whose entry would further important United States 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
- Those whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees
Additionally, the entry suspension does not affect any person’s eligibility for asylum or relief related to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
The suspension of entry became effective on February 2, 2020, at 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.
In related news, the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou has canceled immigrant visa appointments during the week of February 3, 2020. It is unclear when these services will resume or if other consulates in China will follow suit.
Certain U.S. citizens returning from China will be subject to mandatory quarantine or health screenings as well.
Foreign nationals returning to the United States after spending time in China should plan for delays and consult their immigration attorney.
Employers with foreign nationals returning to the U.S. after having spent time in China should also speak with their attorney. Coronavirus and resulting quarantines are impacting employers.
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