United States International Travel Restrictions

In the past two weeks have seen quite the flurry of new restrictions as it pertains to international travel. The first was the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requiring international travelers to have a negative COVID test or documentation showing they had recovered from the virus. Just days later, the incoming administration announced a mandatory quarantine for international travelers.

To continue with the rapid pace at which the administration is trying to control the spread of the virus, the White House announced new travel restrictions for South Africa and an extension of restrictions for Brazil and Europe. The restrictions follow:

(a)  The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of noncitizens who were physically present within the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe), the Republic of Ireland, and the Federative Republic of Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States, is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.
(b)  The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of noncitizens who were physically present within the Republic of South Africa during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States, is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.

This means that any noncitizen of the United States must not have been in the listed areas for at least 14 days preceding their travel to the United States. The announcement also states that citizens, spouses (citizen/noncitizen), lawful residents, noncitizen family members of citizens and lawful residents, and a host of government visa holders, are not affected by the restriction.

The extension, from 2020, of the European and Brazil ban began, this morning, January 26th while the South Africa ban is not set to start until January 30th.

Final Word

Honestly, I do not think this is enough. The travel restrictions do not apply to select individuals, namely United States citizens and their relatives. This means that we can travel to the “restricted” areas and bring the new strands of coronavirus back here. This does not seem well intentioned.

If it was truly done in good faith, why didn’t the restriction go into place immediately for South Africa? The days between the executive order and its implementation allows people to change their tickets so they can arrive earlier.

What do you make of the travel restrictions?

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