Biden Administration Extends U.S. COVID-19 Travel Restrictions
On January 25, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order effectively extending the country-specific COVID-19 travel restrictions that apply to the UK, Ireland, Schengen area, and Brazil. This new version of the COVID-19 travel ban also adds South Africa. These changes are effective January 26, 2021. The separate COVID-19 travel restrictions for China and Iran remain in place.
As a result, entry remains prohibited for persons who were physically present in the UK, Ireland, Schengen area, Brazil, South Africa, China, or Iran during the 14 days prior to seeking entry to the United States. There are limited exceptions that apply, including but not limited to U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and certain close family members of U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents. Foreign nationals may also request an exception if their entry is in the U.S. national interest.
Before departing the presidency, President Trump issued an executive order lifting the country-specific COVID-19 travel bans that apply to the UK, Ireland, Schengen area and Brazil. The order replaced some country-specific bans with a requirement for all travelers to provide evidence of being COVID-19 negative prior to departing for the United States. The Trump order lifting the previous restrictions was to become effective on January 26, 2021 only.
While President Biden’s executive order undoes President Trump’s plan in part, the new administration is leaving in place the requirement that travelers provide evidence of being COVID-19 negative prior to departing for the United States. This predeparture testing requirement will function in addition to the COVID-19 country-specific travel bans and also goes into effect on January 26, 2021. Please reference our update for more information.
Based on the flurry of recent executive orders, we expect the various government agencies to begin making further recommended changes and implementing new policies in the coming weeks and months. Gee & Zhang LLP is closely monitoring these developments. Please contact our office with any questions about the Biden Administration’s new immigration policies.