COVID-19 International Travel Guidance

Updated January 26, 2021. This page will continue to be updated as news becomes available.

 

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIREMENTS:

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS:

Canada-Mexico Land Port of Entry Restrictions

The COVID-19 Country-Specific Proclamations

South Africa

  •  Proclamation of January 25, 2021 (President Biden), effective January 30, 2021. Adds South Africa to the list of countries travel through which subjects individuals to a 14-day COVID-19 travel ban. "The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of noncitizens who were physically present within the Republic of South Africa during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States, is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation." This proclamation is "effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on January 30, 2021.  The suspension and limitation on entry set forth in section 1(b) of this proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on January 30, 2021."

China Travel Proclamation.

  • January 31, 2020 - Proclamation 9984 of January 31, 2020, published at 85 FR 6709, titled Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The proclamation cites INA 212(f) to suspend entry into the United States of all aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants, and other non-U.S. citizens) who were physically present within the People's Republic of China, excluding the Special Autonomous Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. This coronavirus travel ban is effective starting 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 2, 2020. 
  • Proclamation of January 25, 2021 (President Biden). Clarifies that President Trump's China Proclamation 9984 of January 31, 2020 "shall remain in effect until terminated by the President" (Biden)

 

Iran Travel Proclamation.

  • February 29, 2020 - Proclamation 9992 of February 29, 2020, published at 85 FR 12855. The proclamation cites INA 212(f) to suspend entry into the United States of all aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants, and other non U.S. citizens) who were physically present within the Islamic Republic of Iran during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. This coronavirus travel ban is effective starting 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time on March 2, 2020. This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time on March 2, 2020. 
  • Proclamation of January 25, 2021 (President Biden). Clarifies that President Trump's Iran Proclamation 9992 of February 29, 2020 "shall remain in effect until terminated by the President" (Biden).
European Schengen Area Proclamation.
  • Proclamation 9993 of March 11, 2020 (President Trump), published at 85 FR 15045 (March 16, 2020). "The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation... This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 13, 2020." *see national interest waiver exemption note below.
  • Proclamation of January 25, 2021 (President Biden). Clarifies that President Trump's Schengen Area Proclamation 9993 of March 11, 2020 "shall remain in effect until terminated by the President" (Biden). This amendment renders moot President Trump's Proclamation 10138 of January 18 2021, which would have terminated effective January 26, 2021 the restrictions on travelers from the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, and Brazil. For travelers in those countries who began air travel to the United States in reliance on President Trump's Proclamation 10138, President Biden's Proclamation of January 25, 2021 further provides that "The suspension and limitation on entry set forth in section 1(a) of this proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on January 26, 2021.
    • Note: (July 15, 2020) There have been reports that U.S. embassies in certain Schengen countries state that F-1 students present in those specific countries have been granted a "national interest" waiver of the entry ban. If true, this would be pursuant to an exception under Section 2(a)(xi) of Proclamation 9993 of March 11, 2020, as aliens "whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees." The scope and source of this determination is unclear at present. Travelers who would otherwise be subject to the Schengen proclamation should contact the U.S. embassy in the country from which they will be traveling to the United States to verify if an exception applies to them.

Ireland and United Kingdom Proclamation

  • Proclamation 9996 of March 14, 2020 (President Trump), published at 85 FR 15341 (March 18, 2020). "The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the United Kingdom, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe, or the Republic of Ireland during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended and limited ... This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 16, 2020."
  • Proclamation of January 25, 2021 (President Biden). Clarifies that President Trump's Ireland and United Kingdom Proclamation 9996 of March 14, 2020 "shall remain in effect until terminated by the President" (Biden). Clarifies that President Trump's Iran Proclamation 9992 of February 29, 2020 "shall remain in effect until terminated by the President" (Biden). This amendment renders moot President Trump's Proclamation 10138 of January 18 2021, which would have terminated effective January 26, 2021 the restrictions on travelers from the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, and Brazil. For travelers in those countries who began air travel to the United States in reliance on President Trump's Proclamation 10138, President Biden's Proclamation of January 25, 2021 further provides that "The suspension and limitation on entry set forth in section 1(a) of this proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on January 26, 2021."

Brazil

  • Proclamation 10041 of May 24, 2020 (President Trump), published in the Federal Register at 85 FR 31933 (May 28, 2020). Suspends entry into the United States of all aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants, and other non-U.S. citizens) who were physically present within the Federative Republic of Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. The May 24, 2020 proclamation contained a May 28, 2020 effective date, but a May 25, 2020 amendment to the proclamation, also published in the Federal Register at 85 FR 32291 (May 28, 2020) as Proclamation 10042, revised the effective date to May 26, 2020. Section 5 of the May 24, 2020 proclamation was amended to provide: "This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on May 26, 2020."
  • Proclamation of January 25, 2021 (President Biden). Clarifies that President Trump's Brazil Proclamation 9992 of February 29, 2020 "shall remain in effect until terminated by the President" (Biden). This amendment renders moot President Trump's Proclamation 10138 of January 18 2021, which would have terminated effective January 26, 2021 the restrictions on travelers from the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, and Brazil. For travelers in those countries who began air travel to the United States in reliance on President Trump's Proclamation 10138, President Biden's Proclamation of January 25, 2021 further provides that "The suspension and limitation on entry set forth in section 1(a) of this proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on January 26, 2021."

The proclamations do not apply to U.S. citizens, or to any alien who is:

  1. a lawful permanent resident of the United States
  2. a spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  3. a 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;
  4. a sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21;
  5. a 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;
  6. an alien traveling at the invitation of the United States Government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus;
  7. C (transit) or D (air or sea crewmember) nonimmigrants
  8. seeking entry into or transiting the United States pursuant to an A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of an official), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6 visa;
  9. an alien whose entry would not pose a significant risk of introducing, transmitting, or spreading the virus, as determined by the CDC Director, or his designee;
  10. an 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; or
  11. an alien whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees.*
  12. a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
"National Interest Exceptions for Certain Travelers from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland

Last Updated: October 1, 2020

Certain business travelers, investors, treaty traders, academics, students, and journalists may qualify for national interest exceptions under Presidential Proclamations (PPs) 9993 (Schengen Area) and 9996 (United Kingdom and Ireland). Qualified travelers who are applying for or have valid visas or ESTA authorization may travel to the United States even as PPs 9993 and 9996 remain in effect following the procedures below.

Students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 and M-1 visas do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual national interest exception to travel. Students seeking to apply for new F-1 or M-1 visas should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate; those applicants who are found to be otherwise qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa will automatically be considered for a national interest exception to travel.

Business travelers, investors, academics, J-1 students, journalists, and treaty traders who have a valid visa or ESTA authorization that was issued prior to PP 9993 or 9996’s effective date or who are seeking to apply for a visa, and believe they may qualify for a national interest exception should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling. If a national interest exception is approved, they may travel on either a valid visa or ESTA authorization, as appropriate.

The Department of State also continues to grant national interest exceptions for qualified travelers seeking to enter the United States for purposes related to humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security.

Granting national interest exceptions for this travel to the United States from the Schengen area, UK, and Ireland, will assist with the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and bolster key components of our transatlantic relationship.

We appreciate the transparency and concerted efforts of our European partners and allies to combat this pandemic and welcome the EU’s reciprocal action to allow key categories of essential travel to continue."

This implies the following:

  • that an F-1 or M-1 student who already has a visa can travel to the United States on that visa (if otherwise eligible) under a general national interest exception without needing to first visit a U.S. consulate
  • that a national interest exception will be given almost automatically to an F-1 or M-1 visa applicant who needs a visa, but
  • that the decision may still “case-by-case” for J-1 students needing a visa, and
  • that unlike F-1 and M-1 students who already have a visa, J-1 students who already have a J-1 visa should also contact the consulate “before traveling."
  • Another question is whether reference to “academics” in the new paragraph would cover J-1, H-1B, and O-1 professors and researchers to be treated in a fashion similar to J-1 students
  • Reports from the field indicate that national interest exceptions given on a case-by-case basis to individuals other than F-1 or M-1 students are limited in duration (e.g., 20-30 days).

A July 24, 2020 Information Sheet from CBP's Carrier Liaison Program contains a good summary of the national interest exception for F-1 and M-1 students and their F-2 and M-2 dependents who are traveling to the United States from the Schengen area, UK, or Ireland. (08/06/2020)