International Travel Update

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Additional Restrictions:  The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland have been added to the list of countries subject to travel restrictions.  Any person who has been physically present in one of those countries during the last 14 days will not be permitted to enter the United States, according to the same terms and subject to the same exceptions contained in the President’s March 11 Proclamation affecting the Schengen region (see this article).

Cancellation of ESTA Privileges:  United States Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) states that travelers currently registered in the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), who are subject to travel restrictions, will have their ESTA privileges cancelled if they attempt to enter the United States.  ESTA allows individuals from certain countries to enter the United States without first obtaining a visa.

Travelers should be aware that even the act of buying a ticket from an airline may result in ESTA cancellation.  Airlines are subject to fines for permitting travelers to board aircraft when those travelers are subject to a U.S. travel restriction.  There have been reports that airlines are reporting even the purchase of a ticket to USCBP when circumstances indicate that the purchasing party may be subject to a travel restriction.

USCBP confirms that travelers who have not been in one of the affected regions for more than 14 days may continue to use ESTA privileges to enter the United States.  Travelers who meet this requirement should be certain to produce evidence of travel to and presence in other countries that are not subject to restrictions in order to maximize their chances of entering the United States.

USCBP also confirms that travelers whose ESTA privileges have been cancelled may reapply for ESTA once restrictions have been lifted.

More information about ESTA privileges can be seen here.

Visa Processing Suspensions:  Several U.S. embassies abroad have reported that they will not process visa applications.  Among those known are Spain, Germany, Italy, India, and South Africa.  Additional suspensions and closures are anticipated.  This website contains postings from the State Department that are regularly updated.

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