President Donald Trump issued a proclamation today that will extend his administration’s COVID-19 travel ban to the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland starting Monday, March 16 at 11:59 PM EDT. The ban now prohibits foreign nationals from entering the United States if they have been physically present in the UK or Ireland within 14 days before their attempted entry, though some exceptions apply.
The latest proclamation follows prior presidential orders temporarily barring the admission of foreign nationals who were physically present in the European Schengen Area, China, and Iran. The new restrictions remain in effect until terminated by the President.
Exceptions to the Travel Restrictions
Travelers who have been present in Ireland and the United Kingdom will be permitted to enter the United States if they are on flights that depart before 11:59 PM EDT on March 16.
The following travelers are exempt from the ban, but will be required to undergo screening and other measures upon arrival:
- U.S. citizens;
- U.S. lawful permanent residents;
- Spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents;
- A foreign national who is the parent or legal guardian of an unmarried U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident under the age of 21;
- A foreign national who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided they are both unmarried and under 21;
- A foreign national who is the 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 on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa;
- A foreign national traveling at the invitation of the U.S. government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the COVID-19 virus;
- A foreign air or sea crewmember;
- Certain A, C, E-1 (TECRO or TECO), G, and NATO nonimmigrants;
- A foreign national whose entry would not pose a risk of transmitting the virus as determined by the CDC;
- A foreign national whose entry would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives;
- A foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest; and
- Members of the U.S. armed forces and their spouses and children.
Procedures for Exempt Travelers
As outlined by the Department of Homeland Security, exempt travelers will be directed to one of the 13 U.S. airports equipped for COVID-19 screening, where they will be asked about their medical history, their current physical condition, and for their contact information, which will be shared with local health authorities. Travelers will also be directed to immediately home-quarantine in accordance with CDC guidelines.
What Employers Should Do Now
With 48 hours remaining before the additional travel restrictions take effect, your organization should work quickly to identify foreign employees who are affected by the ban. Contact your designated legal professionals to advise on available options, which could include urgent travel back to the United States, if possible, or alternative plans.