New International Travel Ban to the United States from Certain African Countries Effective November 29, 2021

On November 26, 2021, the White House issued a new Presidential Proclamation that bans inbound U.S. travel by individuals who have been physically present in the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Malawi, the Republic of Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa, and the Republic of Zimbabwe during the 14 day period preceding planned entry to the United States. This travel ban went into effect at 12:01 AM EST on November 29, 2021. The White House introduced this new travel ban in response to the emergence of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.

The following categories of people are exempt from the November 29th travel ban:

  • US. citizens
  • Lawful permanent residents
  • US. noncitizen nationals
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents
  • Parents or legal guardians of unmarried U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who are younger than age 21
  • Unmarried siblings aged 21 and younger of unmarried U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who are younger than  age 21
  • Children, foster children, or wards of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents
  • Prospective adoptees of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who are seeking to enter the United States in IR-4 or IH-4 visas
  • Noncitizens who have been invited by the U.S. government to assist with the containment or mitigation of COVID-19
  • Noncitizen air or sea crews, including those seeking to enter the United States with C-1/D visas
  • Noncitizen government officials and immediate family members including A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-3, NATO-1 through NATO-4, NATO-6, and E-1 employees of TECRO, TECO and immediate family members
  • Noncitizens seeking to enter the United States within section 11 of the U.N. Headquarters Agreement
  • Noncitizen members of the U.S. armed forces and their spouses and children
  • Noncitizens who will be entering the United States to further important law enforcement objectives
  • Noncitizens (e.g. those with E, F, J, H, L, O or P nonimmigrant visas) whose entry to the United States will benefit the national interest of the United States and who have obtained a National Interest Exception from a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad prior to seeking admission to the United States (Please note that the Department of State has confirmed that any National Interest Exception granted to a noncitizen under previous Presidential Proclamations are void with respect the Proclamation of November 26, 2021. It is not yet known whether the same criteria will be used to evaluate new National Interest Exception requests.)

The October 25, 2021 Presidential Proclamation remains in effect. All foreign national air travelers to the United States are required, with extremely limited exceptions, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane bound for the United States. All eligible international air travelers must also provide a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 prior to travel. For further details, please see our prior client alert. The White House is currently reviewing the possibility of implementing more stringent entry requirements for international air travelers, including a requirement that all air travelers secure a negative COVID-19 test result within 24 hours of air travel to the United States.

Additional International Travel Bans:

More than 30 additional countries have also issued travel bans, restrictions, and additional COVID-19 testing and quarantine measures in an effort to delay the further spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. Countries that are currently also banning travel from countries in southern Africa include Angola, Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Maldives, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda (South Africa only), Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, and the United Kingdom. Israel, Japan, and Morocco are now restricting travel from all international locations. Please note that most jurisdictions are continuing to require pre-fight COVID testing and quarantine requirements. Please reach out to your attorney at McCown & Evans regarding current country-specific COVID-19 travel guidelines.