COVID-19 Restrictions on Travelers from Europe
March 14, 2020
UPDATE: On March 14, the Administration announced that the travel restrictions described below would extend to the United Kingdom and Ireland starting on March 16 at midnight. We will provide additional updates as information is released.
On March 11, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation (Proclamation) that imposed restrictions on certain individuals seeking to travel to the United States from parts of Europe. The Proclamation (available here) restricts the entry of foreign nationals, subject to a number of exceptions, who have been physically present in the Schengen Area of Europe during the 14 days preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. The Proclamation is in addition to restrictions previously imposed on China (January 31, 2020, available here) and Iran (February 29, 2020, available here).
The restrictions do not apply to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, as well as other individuals described more fully below. Contrary to initial statements, the restrictions do not apply to cargo or economic shipping. The entry restrictions are effective as of midnight March 13, 2020 and will continue until terminated by the President.
The Secretary of Homeland Security has indicated that all individuals who have been in the Schengen Area, including U.S. citizens, will be required to travel to the United States through only 13 airports and that they will be subject to additional screening procedures upon arrival. During the additional screening, passengers will be asked about their medical history, current condition, and for contact information that can be shared with local health authorities. In addition, those passengers will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days after their arrival. The latest implementing guidance for the travel restrictions, including China and Iran restrictions, are here and here, and may be subject to additional updates. In addition, the federal government, as well as state and local public health authorities, have the authority to impose further quarantine restrictions on individuals.
For the purposes of the proclamation, the Schengen Area of Europe consists of 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. The Proclamation does not apply to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania, and others.
The entry restrictions of the Proclamation do not apply to:
- any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
- any alien who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
- any alien who is the parent or legal guardian 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;
- any alien who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21;
- any alien who is the child, foster child, or ward of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
- any alien traveling at the invitation of the United States Government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus;
- any alien traveling as a nonimmigrant pursuant to a C-1, D, or C-1/D nonimmigrant visa as a crewmember or any alien otherwise traveling to the United States as air or sea crew;
- any alien:
- seeking entry into or transiting the United States pursuant to one of the following visas: A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of an official), E-1 (as an employee of TECRO or TECO or the employee’s immediate family members), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6 (or seeking to enter as a nonimmigrant in one of those NATO categories); or
- whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement;
- any alien whose entry would not pose a significant risk of introducing, transmitting, or spreading the virus, as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the CDC Director or his designee;
- any alien 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;
- any alien whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees; or
- members of the U.S. Armed Forces and spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
The restrictions do not apply to travel from the United States, but all travelers should anticipate a decrease in available transatlantic flights and delays due to heightened screening measures. Implementation of these restrictions will be a complex undertaking, and it is likely that there will be several iterations of implementing guidance, as well as variances in their application by individual airlines, consular officers, and immigration officers at ports of entry. We are following this issue closely and will provide updates as appropriate.
1 Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts; Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois; Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas; Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan; Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii; Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia; John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York; Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California; Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida; Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey; San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California; Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington; Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia.
This memorandum is a summary for general information and discussion only and may be considered an advertisement for certain purposes. It is not a full analysis of the matters presented, may not be relied upon as legal advice, and does not purport to represent the views of our clients or the Firm. Steve Bunnell, an O’Melveny partner licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia, Lisa Monaco, an O’Melveny partner licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and New York, and John Dermody, an O’Melveny counsel licensed to practice law in California, contributed to the content of this newsletter. The views expressed in this newsletter are the views of the authors except as otherwise noted.
© 2020 O’Melveny & Myers LLP. All Rights Reserved. Portions of this communication may contain attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Please direct all inquiries regarding New York’s Rules of Professional Conduct to O’Melveny & Myers LLP, Times Square Tower, 7 Times Square, New York, NY, 10036, T: +1 212 326 2000.