The Facts on the COVID-19 European Travel Ban

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On Wednesday night, President Trump issued a proclamation restricting direct travel from the European “Schengen” Region to the United States.  There has been some confusion about the nature of the restrictions and who is affected, which the synopsis below hopefully clarifies.

The ban will take effect at 11:59 PM on Friday, March 13.

Afterwards, foreign nationals who have been physically present in any Schengen countries during the last 14 calendar days will not be admitted to the U.S.  The ban on travel for foreign nationals will be in effect until the President lifts it.  Contrary to some media reports, this is not a general 30-day ban.

Afterward, U.S. Citizens and other permitted travelers returning from a Schengen country will likely be routed to one of a limited number of U.S. airports that have COVID-19 testing and quarantining capabilities.  The Homeland Security Secretary is expected to issue detailed guidance and a list of airports within the next 48 hours.

Schengen countries include: 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.


It is important to note that the ban does not apply to the following groups:

  • Lawful permanent residents (LPR) (people who have green cards)
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens or LPRs
  • Parents or legal guardians of children who are U.S. citizens or LPRS, if the children are under 21 and unmarried
  • Siblings of U.S. citizens or LPRs, if both siblings are under 21 and unmarried
  • Children, foster children, wards, or prospective adoptees of U.S. citizens or LPRs
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children
  • Diplomats, certain trade organization employees, and certain UN workers
  • Alien crew members who hold a C or D visa (pilots, flight attendants, ship captains, and crew, etc.)

The ban will prevent anyone from traveling directly to the U.S. from the Schengen region who does not fit one of the above exception categories.  Anyone subject to the ban will not be permitted to board an aircraft or ship bound for the United States.

We expect the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Department of Health and Human Services to be issuing additional guidance in response to the President’s proclamation in the next 48 hours.  If you are expecting visitors or temporary workers from the Schengen region, if you are currently hosting visitors or temporary workers from the Schengen region, or if you anticipate needing to send personnel to the Schengen region, please contact a member of Burr & Forman’s Immigration Team, or the Burr & Forman attorney you normally work with, to discuss the situation.

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