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Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the European Schengen Area Travel Ban

Written by: Ashik R. Jahan

With growing fears concerning spreading of the global pandemic, COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the U.S. has barred entry into the U.S. from non-U.S. citizens in the European Union’s Schengen Area.  People who have visited this area in the previous two weeks, regardless of nationality, are also barred.  The Schengen Area includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This policy will go into effect tonight, Friday, March 13th 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EST and is anticipated to last for at least 30 days.  We note that the Schengen Area does not include the United Kingdom, Ireland Bulgaria, Croatia or Romania.  Therefore, these countries are not included in the ban at this time.

Not included in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Schengen Area Travel Ban are:

  • American citizens, permanent legal residents and their immediate families
  • Any child, foster child or ward of a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Anyone traveling at the invitation of the United States Government for virus-related work, certain travelers related to NATO or United Nations work, and certain travelers doing work related to the CDC, Department of Homeland Security, State Department and other law enforcement issues
  • Certain classes of air or sea crew members

While these travelers will not be denied entry into the United States, they may be forced to enter through select airports where advanced screening is provided, and may be subjected to quarantine as well.

In summary, people from the Schengen Area will be denied entry if they were physically present in one of those countries within 14 days of the attempted entry into the U.S.   However, if a person was in another country for at least 14 days (such as Canada) immediately prior to attempting entry into the U.S., they may be admitted, despite being a citizen or resident of a Schengen Area country.    Hall Booth Smith, PC will continue to monitor the situation for updates for our clients and their employees and respective family members, who may be impacted by this proclamation.

For additional information see:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspension-entry-immigrants-nonimmigrants-certain-additional-persons-pose-risk-transmitting-2019-novel-coronavirus/