By Tieranny L. Cutler and Jason E. Burritt

Seyfarth Synopsis:  The President’s order, which reinstates and expands travel restrictions imposed by the prior administration, will continue to have a significant impact on international travel for foreign nationals, as well as impact the transfer of global talent by U.S. corporations from these regions.  The travel restriction does not apply to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, or individuals with certain relationships to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

On Monday, January 25, 2021, President Biden issued a proclamation to prohibit the entry into the U.S. by all foreign nationals, immigrant or nonimmigrant, who were physically present within the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, or South Africa during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the U.S.

As detailed in earlier Seyfarth announcements, this is not the first travel restriction to be implemented as a result of the novel coronavirus referred to as “COVID-19.”  Nearly a year ago, on January 31, 2020, former President Trump implemented a similar travel restriction for foreign nationals traveling from China, and an additional restriction on February 29, 2020, limiting travel from Iran.  Both of these travel restrictions remain active.  On March 11, 2020, the former president issued a proclamation to suspend travel to the U.S. by all foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. who were present in the Schengen Area within the 14-day period prior to their attempted arrival.  Immediately prior to his departure from office, former President Trump terminated his prior orders prohibiting travel from Europe and Brazil, which termination was set to take effect on January 26.  Through the present proclamation, the Biden administration reinstates the travel restrictions for the Schengen Area, Brazil, Ireland, and United Kingdom, and expands the list to include South Africa.

Certain foreign nationals will not be subject to the most recent set of travel restrictions.  Notable exceptions include:

  • Lawful permanent residents (“Green Card” holders);
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents;
  • Parents or guardians of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who are unmarried and under twenty-one years old;
  • Siblings of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, provided that both individuals are unmarried and under twenty-one years old; and
  • U.S. military personnel, along with their spouses and children.

Similar to the order imposed by his predecessor, President Biden’s proclamation has also reserved an exception for any foreign national who has received an invitation from the U.S. government to enter the United States for a cause related to the containment or mitigation of the virus.  Further exceptions are detailed in the proclamation itself.

Following its implementation at 12:01 a.m. EST on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, this travel restriction will remain in effect until terminated by the President.

Seyfarth will issue subsequent alerts as the situation continues to develop.  Should you have any questions, please contact one of the authors or your Seyfarth contact.