Author: USA Immigration lawyer Alena Shautsova
Coronavirus impacted world travel, including US Immigration and travel. Specifically, the entry of certain persons who have recently traveled to China or coming from China is restricted.
Travel Ban Related to China
On January 31, 2020, President Trump issued a Proclamation suspending entry of certain immigrants and nonimmigrants who were physically present within China, excluding Hong Kong and Macau, 14 days prior to their entry or attempted entry into the United States. The ban became effective at 5:00 pm (ET) on Sunday, February 2, 2020.
In addition, US citizens who are travelling from the affected Hubei province in China within 14 days of arriving to the US will be placed on mandatory quarantine. If persons are returning form other parts of China, outside of Hong Kong, Macau, and the Hubei province, will be subject to monitoring at certain ports of entry, and potentially self-quarantine at home.
Who will not be banned from entering the U.S. if they travelled to China?
The Trump China-related Proclamation states that it does not affect an individual’s eligibility for asylum, withholding of removal, or protection under the UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT). In addition to U.S. Citizens, the Proclamation does not apply to the following individuals:
- Lawful permanent residents of the United States;
- Spouses of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
- Parents or legal guardians 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;
- Siblings of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21;
- Children, foster children, or wards of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or prospective adoptees seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
- Foreign nationals traveling to the United States at the invitation of the United States Government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus;
- Nonimmigrants under section 101(a)(15)(C) or (D) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(C) or (D), as a crewmember or any alien otherwise traveling to the United States as air or sea crew;
- Nonimmigrants on an A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of an official), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6 visa;
- Foreign nationals whose entry would not pose a significant risk of introducing, transmitting, or spreading the virus, as determined by the CDC Director, or his designee;
- Foreign nationals 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; or
- Foreign nationals whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees.
Lastly, the individuals travelling from China, will be able to land only in the following airports:
- John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York
- Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in Illinois
- San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in California
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) in Washington
- Daniel K Inouye International Airport (HNL) in Hawaii,
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) in Georgia
- Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in New Jersey
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in Texas
- Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) in Michigan
- Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in California, and
- Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD) in Virginia
The airlines are under orders not to land the affected aircrafts in any other airports.
To sum up, a person travelling from China will not be able to enter the US if he is a regular non diplomatic non-immigrant in most cases. Those with close ties with the US are expected to be subjected to quarantine. The persons will be able to enter the US in one of the eleven designated airports. This proclamation shall remain in effect until terminated by the President.
How long this restriction will be applied for?
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.
USCIS Response to Coronavirus
USCIS announced that it encourages persons who are not feeling well to reschedule their appointments following the instructions in the interview notices. It also stated that it will not penalize those who opt to reschedule their appointments. See more https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-response-2019-coronavirus