Seyfarth Synopsis: President Trump's order restricting travel to the United States from most European countries -- the Schengen Area, specifically --  will have a significant impact on nonimmigrant visa holders and certain immigrants.  Note, this travel restriction does not apply to U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents ("green card" holders).

On Wednesday March 11, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation to suspend travel to the U.S. by all foreign nationals, immigrant or nonimmigrant, who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry.  Following its implementation at 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, March 13, 2020, this travel restriction will remain in effect until terminated by the President.  This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 13, 2020.

The Schengen Area travel restriction will affect the majority of Europe, including the following twenty-six (26) European countries: 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.  As announced by President Trump during his national address on March 11, 2020, the United Kingdom has been excluded from this list.

Further, certain foreign nationals will not be subject to the Schengen Area travel restriction.  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 the age of 21 years old; and U.S. military personnel, along with their spouses and children.  The Trump administration 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.

This is not the first travel restriction implemented as a result of the novel coronavirus referred to as "COVID-19."  Previously, on January 31, 2020, the Trump administration 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.

Seyfarth Shaw will issue subsequent alerts as the situation continues to develop.  Should you have any questions, please alert your Seyfarth Shaw contact.

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