Biden Administration Executive Orders Impact International Travel

By Melany SavittAlan Perkins, Turid Owren, and Melina LaMorticella

The Biden Administration issued a Proclamation on January 25, 2021 reinstating the COVID-related travel bans put in place and slated to be lifted on January 26, 2021 by the Trump Administration. Foreign nationals present in the Schengen Area (26 countries), U.K., Ireland, Brazil, China, or Iran in the 14-day period preceding travel to the U.S. will not be permitted to enter unless they are exempt or qualify for an exception. Added to the list of countries is South Africa, which will go into effect at 12:01 am (EST) on January 30, 2021.

The following are examples of individuals who are exempt from the Proclamation:

  • U.S. lawful permanent residents
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents
  • Parents or legal guardians of unmarried U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (under the age of 21)
  • Siblings of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (all parties must be unmarried and under the age of 21)

The Proclamation will remain in effect until terminated. Further, it directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to provide regular guidance on the continuance, modification, or termination of the Proclamation.

In a separate Proclamation, the Biden Administration ended the Trump Administration’s blanket travel bans on citizens of certain countries, often referred to as the “Muslim and African travel bans.”  Prior to the Biden Proclamation, citizens of the following countries had been impacted: Burma, Eritrea, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Nigeria, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Venezuela, and Yemen. This Proclamation ends travel restrictions and directs visa processing to resume for citizens of these previously restricted countries, subject to any COVID-19 related travel restrictions.  Further, COVID-19 may continue to delay and disrupt visa appointment availability, which are consular post-specific.   

Please note: All airline or aircraft international travelers seeking to enter the United States, including U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, must now provide a negative COVID test performed no more than three days prior to departure (or documentation of recovery). Please see our prior news alert here for additional details.

This client alert is prepared for the general information of our clients and friends. It should not be regarded as legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this update, please contact any of the attorneys in our Immigration Practice Group, or the attorney with whom you normally consult. 

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