By Presidential Proclamation, dated January 31, 2020 and effective on February 2, 2020 at 5pm EST, the United States is suspending the entry of “foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the 2019 novel coronavirus.” As a result, foreign nationals (of any nationality), other than immediate family of U.S. citizens, permanent residents and certain others, who have been residing in or traveled to Mainland China during the 14-day period preceding their request for admission to the United States will be denied entry. Also, on January 31, 2020, President Trump issued another Proclamation expanding the ongoing travel ban, pursuant to Executive Order 13780 of March 6, 2017, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States (Travel Ban 3.0), to include certain foreign nationals of the following six countries: Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.
Novel Coronavirus Entry Ban
Per this Presidential Proclamation entitled, Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus, the entry into the United States, of all foreign nationals (as immigrants or nonimmigrants) who were physically present within the People’s Republic of China, excluding Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended. The following categories of individuals are exempted from this temporary entry ban:
- S. permanent residents (Lawful Permanent Residents or “green card” holders);
- The spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident;
- The parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, if the U.S. citizen or permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21;
- The sibling of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21;
- The child, foster child, or ward of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
- A foreign national traveling at the invitation of the U.S. government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus;
- Nonimmigrant crewmembers;
- Foreign nationals seeking entry or transiting the United States under an A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4 or NATO-6 visa;
- A foreign national whose entry would not pose a significant risk of transmitting the virus, as determined by the Centers for Disease Control;
- A foreign national whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives; and
- A foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest.
This entry ban is to remain in effect until terminated by Presidential order.
The US Embassy and Consulates in Mainland China have announced all operations will be closed to the public from February 3-7, other than emergency services for U.S. citizens. The Embassy also announced the cancellation of all immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments scheduled for the week of February 3rd. At this time, the Embassy is not providing a specific date for the resumption of routine visa services.
In addition, the Secretary of Health and Human Services announced during a White House press briefing, that any U.S. citizen (and presumably the exempt individuals listed above) returning to the United States who has been in the Hubei Province (Mainland China) in the previous 14 days will be subject to mandatory quarantine of up to 14 days. Furthermore, any U.S. citizen (or exempt individual) returning to the United States who has been in other parts of mainland China within the previous 14 days will undergo proactive entry health screening at a select ports of entry and up to 14 days of monitored self-quarantine.
Expansion of Travel Ban 3.0
As indicated above, the President expanded his Travel Ban 3.0 (Executive Order 13780 of March 6, 2017, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States), to include certain foreign nationals of Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania. This expansion comes after the United States Supreme Court upheld the Travel Ban on June 26, 2018. This expansion will take effect on February 21, 2020 and the restrictions will be limited to those seeking immigrant visas (“green cards”) from the newly added countries. Once this expansion takes effect, the Travel Ban 3.0 will apply to the following nationalities banning entry of immigrants and/or nonimmigrants as follows:
Eritrea: Immigrants, except as Special Immigrants who have provided assistance to the U.S. government.
Kyrgyzstan: Immigrants, except Special Immigrants who have provided assistance to the U.S. government.
Iran: Immigrants and all nonimmigrants, except F (student), M (vocational student) and J (exchange visitor) visas, though they are subject to enhanced screening.
Libya: Immigrants and temporary visitors on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2).
Myanmar: Immigrants, except Special Immigrants who have provided assistance to the U.S. government.
Nigeria: Immigrants, except Special Immigrants who have provided assistance to the U.S. government.
North Korea: Immigrants and nonimmigrants.
Somalia: Immigrants and requires enhanced screening of all nonimmigrants.
Sudan: Diversity Visa immigrants (but not other immigrant categories).
Syria: Immigrants and nonimmigrants.
Tanzania: Diversity Visa immigrants (but not other immigrant categories).
Venezuela: Certain government officials and their family members on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2).
Yemen: Immigrants and temporary visitors on business or tourist visas (B-1/B-2).
The following individuals will continue to be exempt from Travel Ban 3.0:
- Permanent residents;
- Foreign nationals admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the applicable effective date;
- Foreign nationals who have a document other than a visa such as a transportation letter, boarding foil, advance parole document that is valid on the applicable effective date or issued on any date thereafter;
- Dual nationals of a designated country who are traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
- Foreign nationals traveling on a diplomatic visas, NATO visas, C-2/U.N. visas, or G-1, G2, G-3, or G-4 visa; or
- Foreign nationals granted asylum in the United States; refugees already admitted to the United States; or individuals granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.
The Travel Ban will also continue to permit affected individuals to seek discretionary waivers on a case-by-case basis. Immigration Authorities may grant waivers if the individual satisfactorily demonstrates that:
- Denying entry would cause undue hardship;
- Entry would not pose a threat to United States national security or public safety; and
- Entry would be in the United States national interest.
Circumstances where a waiver may be appropriate include foreign nationals previously admitted to the United States for work or study where the denial of reentry would impair that activity. Waivers issued by Consular Officers will be effective for both the issuance of a visa and any subsequent entry on that visa.
Squire Patton Boggs will continue to monitor and provide updates on these fast-moving developments and travel restrictions.