Alerts and Updates

Update on Recent Travel Proclamations in Wake of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

March 11, 2020

Employees who do travel should be sure to have all required immigration and identity documents before leaving the United States to ensure reentry. 

On February 29, 2020, President Trump signed an additional presidential proclamation banning entry of all foreign nationals who have visited Iran during the 14-day period preceding attempted entry into the United States. This same ban has been in effect for China since January 31, 2020.

The U.S. travel restrictions do not apply to the following persons:

  • Lawful permanent residents of the United States;
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents;
  • Parents or legal guardians of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, provided that the U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents are unmarried and under the age of 21;
  • Siblings of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, provided that they are unmarried and under the age of 21;
  • Children or foster children of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, or children who are prospective adoptees seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
  • Foreign nationals traveling at the invitation of the United States government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus;
  • C (transit) or D (air or sea crewmember) nonimmigrants;
  • Those 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;
  • Foreign nationals whose travel falls within the scope of Section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement;
  • Foreign nationals whose entry would not pose a significant risk of introducing, transmitting, or spreading the virus, as determined by the CDC director or his designee;
  • Foreign nationals whose entry would further advance 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
  • Foreign nationals whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the secretary of state, the secretary of homeland security or their designees.
  • Members of the U.S. armed forces, spouses and children of members of the U.S. armed forces.

However, these individuals will be screened and/or quarantined upon arrival. Due to screening requirements, only specific airports are authorized to receive passengers from China and Iran.

In addition to the U.S. travel bans, numerous other travel restrictions have been implemented worldwide by countries on four continents. As a result of the uncertainty, many employers have already suspended all international travel as well as domestic business travel. If employers do permit travel, they should ensure policies allow employees to comply with all required restrictions and recommendations from governments and health officials worldwide.

Employees who do travel should be sure to have all required immigration and identity documents before leaving the United States to ensure reentry (i.e., valid passport, visa, notices, permits, etc.). It is also recommended that employees carry credible documentation of their travel history evidencing compliance with the travel restrictions, employment verification and an explanation of the need to travel in preparation for reentry into the United States. Employers and employees alike should be aware that delays are likely to occur and assume employees will be sent to deferred inspection upon return. Cooperation with the government and patience are key to ensure safety and orderly processing.

About Duane Morris

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help employers plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

We are also offering the following webinars through the Duane Morris Institute:

For More Information

If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact any of the attorneys in the Immigration Law Group, any member of the COVID-19 Strategy Team or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.