On Wednesday March 11, 2020, President Trump made a televised address from the Oval Office placing blame on the European Union for failing to contain the coronavirus outbreak. As a result, the President imposed a 30-day ban on foreign visitors from the Schengen Area of the European Union. The ban does not apply to United Kingdom and Ireland.
Who Does the European Union Travel Ban Apply To?
President Trump’s newest travel ban applies to all foreign nationals from entering the U.S., if they have been physically present in the Schengen Area within 14 days prior to entry to the United States of America excluding presence in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The applicable countries in the Schengen Area 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.
Although imports from these countries have not been banned, the individuals transporting these goods to the U.S. are subject to the ban.
The ban does not apply to U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPRs), and spouses and certain family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.
There has been no clarification from the President’s Administration on how it plans to verify whether non-U.S. citizens or LPRs arriving in the U.S. from the United Kingdom and Ireland previously traveled through countries in the Schengen Area. Countries in the Schengen Area abolished passport and other types of border control at their mutual borders. Even after Brexit, UK citizens enjoy visa free travel for short trips to the European Union up until January 1, 2021.
Screening procedures are expected to be applied to all incoming travelers from the European Union.
There is a large possibility that more travel bans will be instituted by President Trump’s administration as the virus spreads across the world. It is also possible that other countries will institute travel restrictions of their own.
When Does the European Travel Ban Take Effect?
The President’s newest travel ban takes effect tonight, March 13, 2020 at 11:59 P.M. EDT. Although the president stated that it would be an initial 30-day ban, it will likely remain active until terminated by President Trump. Any non-U.S. citizen or non-U.S. lawful permanent resident who departs from a Schengen area country prior to March 13, 2020 at 11:59 P.M. EDT will be allowed to enter the U.S.
How Does COVID-19 Affect You?
For businesses and any individuals planning to travel abroad, we recommend remaining the United States if possible. Business travel should be rescheduled until concerns for spreading the COVID-19 Pandemic have calmed down.
If you are currently in the U.S. with a soon expiring non-immigrant visa or with upcoming appointments at USCIS, we highly recommend that you speak with an immigration attorney prior to traveling. If you travel and end up stranded outside of the country, it could affect your ability to attend appointments at USCIS or to apply for visa extensions or new visas.
For individuals in immigration proceedings, EOIR is currently refusing to close immigration courts except in Seattle Washington. Therefore, you should plan to attend immigration proceedings unless EOIR changes its policy on COVID-19 and hearing attendance. Please contact your KBI representative for further questions regarding your attendance.
At KBI, we are committed to providing our clients with accurate information that will help them to make the best possible immigration decisions. We will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and will provide periodic updates as necessary. If you have any questions regarding your immigration case and how it will be affected by the travel ban, please call and speak with our representatives for further support.