15 Mar FAQs Regarding Proclamation—Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus
Date 15th March 2020
When did or does the proclamation come into effect?
There have been several proclamations relating to Covid-19. On January 31st, 2020 the President signed Proclamation number 9984 banning travel from within the People’s Republic of China, excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macauin would be barred from entry to the US.
On February 29, 2020, in recognition of the sustained person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the Islamic Republic of Iran, I issued Proclamation 9992 (Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus), suspending and limiting the entry of all aliens who were physically present within the Islamic Republic of Iran during 14 days prior to attempted travel to the US.
Finally, on 11th March 2020, in Proclamation 9992 applied only to those within the Schengen area. As of 14th March 2020, it was announced that, on March 11th 2020, a new proclamation barred entry to aliens who have been in the Schengen area for 14 days prior to US request for entry, those who have been in the United Kingdom and Ireland are barred from flying to the US which took affect at 11:59 pm Eastern Daylight time on 13th March 2020. On 14th March 2020, the United Kingdom and Ireland was added to the travel ban to take affect at 11:59pm Eastern Daylight time.
How long will the proclamation remain in effect?
The proclamation will remain in effect for 30 days or until it is terminated by the President as indicated in section 5 of Proclamation 9984:
Sec. 5. Termination. This proclamation shall remain in effect until terminated by the President. The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall, as circumstances warrant and no more than 15 days after the date of this order and every 15 days thereafter, recommend that the President continue, modify, or terminate this proclamation.
Who is barred from entering the US under this proclamation?
All “aliens”, that is non-US citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (aka green card holders), who are outside the US. This means the bar to entry includes all ESTA holders or nonimmigrant student or work visa holders who are currently outside the US and were present in China, Schengen or UK or Ireland for 14 days prior to entry to the US unless they fall within an exception which include:
- any alien who is the 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;
- any alien who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21;
- any alien 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 pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
- any alien traveling at the invitation of the United States Government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus;
- any alien traveling as a nonimmigrant pursuant to a C-1, D, or C-1/D nonimmigrant visa as a crewmember or any alien otherwise traveling to the United States as air or sea crew;
- any alien seeking entry into or transiting the United States pursuant to one of the following visas: A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of an official), E-1 (as an employee of TECRO or TECO or the employee’s immediate family members), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6 (or seeking to enter as a nonimmigrant in one of those NATO categories); or
- whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement;
- any alien whose entry would not pose a significant risk of introducing, transmitting, or spreading the virus, as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the CDC Director or his designee;
- any 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;
- any alien whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees; or
- members of the U.S. Armed Forces and spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
What should I do if I’m currently in the US?
You should remain in the US as long as your US visa status is valid. If you depart to the US and go to one of the affected areas, you will be barred from entering the US.
If you do not know when your current US visa status expires, you should check your I-94 record of entry to the US. You can check on the US Customs & Border Protection web site to check how long your visa status is valid: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home
If you remain in the US for more than 180 days after the date your I-94 record expires and you leave the US, you will be inadmissible to the US for three years from the date you left the US.
If you remain int he US for more than 365 days after the date your I-94 record expires and you leave the US, you will be inadmissible to the US for 10 years from the date you left the US.
If you remain in the US from 1 day to 179 days after your US visa status expires, you should contact our office for specific advice.
If you remain in the US for even 1 day past your allowed period of stay as an ESTA visitor, your ESTA will be cancelled and you will no longer be able to use the Visa Waiver Program. If you wish to travel to the US in the future, you would need to obtain a US visa.
What if I’m in the UK or Ireland and want to travel to the US before 11:59pm EST 16th March 2020?
You must board a flight before this time. In addition, if you wish to travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program and have a current ESTA you should double check that your ESTA is still valid as some ESTAs are being cancelled on the US Customs and Border Protection or “CBP” web site: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/ FAQs on the US CBP web site relating to ESTA travel and the Coronavirus travel ban are found at: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/faq?focusedTopic=Schengen%20Travel%20Proclamation
The FAQs indicate that, “Any traveler with a valid ESTA who is subject to the Proclamation and who attempts to travel the United States in violation of the Proclamation will have their ESTA canceled.” If your ESTA is cancelled it means that you must apply for a B-1/B-2 Visitor visa at a US Embassy or Consulate and, as many US Embassies and Consulates are closing, it will make it very difficult travel if a person attempts to travel to the US in violation to the proclamations.
This page will be updated as we learn more. In the meantime, please email our office at [email protected] if you have any questions.