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Travelling to the U.S. from Europe during Corona Virus: Questions and Answers

By August 11, 2020March 29th, 2021COVID-19
Courtesy of Pexels, labeled for reuse, https://static.pexels.com/photos/9482/plane.jpg

Are the Presidential proclamations banning entry from the Schengen countries and the UK and Ireland still in effect?

Yes. The Presidential proclamations imposing travel restrictions on visitors who were present in Schengen area countries, the UK, or Ireland within 14 days prior to their entry in the U.S. are still in effect. The Presidential proclamations do not specify when the travel restrictions will be lifted and the proclamations state that they “shall remain in effect until terminated by the President.”

Are there any updates on when the travel restriction for the Schengen countries and the UK and Ireland will be lifted?

Unfortunately, the President has not yet announced any details on when the travel restrictions could potentially be lifted.

Can I fly into a country that is not on the list of restricted countries and then come to the U.S.?

Many of our clients who live in the Schengen countries, the UK, or Ireland ask us if it’s possible to fly to a country that is not on the list of restricted countries (such as for example Serbia or Croatia), stay there for at least 14 days, and then fly to the U.S.

The answer is yes but there are couple things you should keep in mind:

  • You should check whether the country you want to fly into has any restrictions on incoming travelers and if so, you should make sure to comply with those requirements
  • You should make sure that on the day when you arrive in the U.S., you have not been present in any country that is currently on the list of restricted countries in the past 14 days
  • You should make sure that if you have a layover, the layover is not in a country that is on the list of restricted countries as you would be denied entry to the U.S. Please note that even if you do not leave the airport in the country that is on the list of restricted countries, you will still be denied entry to the U.S.
  • You must have either a valid visa or ESTA when entering the U.S. If you need to apply for a visa, you should contact your local U.S. Consulate.

What countries are currently on the list of restricted countries?

As of the time of writing, the following countries are on the list of restricted countries (note that this list is subject to change, and you should check the website of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the most current information):

Additionally, Canada and Mexico restricted all non-essential travel (such as tourism) and the order remains in effect.

Are the U.S. Consulates conducting non-immigrant visa interviews?

The Department of State announced in July that the U.S. Consulates abroad are beginning a phased resumption of routine visa services. Please note that many U.S. Consulates still do not process routine non-immigrant visa applications and you should check the website of the Consulate where you want to apply for a visa for further details.

Can I apply for a National Interest Exception?

Certain visitors, such as B-1 visitors, E-1 treaty traders, E-2 investors, academics, or students could qualify for a National Interest Exception and come to the U.S. even if they are coming from Schengen countries, the UK or Ireland. To qualify for the National Interest Exception, you will have to explain why you need to travel to the U.S., why you believe that the travel is time-sensitive and justifies the grant of the exception, and  why your travel is in the U.S. national interest. The decision of the Consulate as to whether you qualify for the National Interest Exception is final and no review is available.

Please see our blog post on the National Interest Exception when you click here.

Please see our blog post on whether you can enter the U.S. on E-2 visa during Covid by clicking here.

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  • Stefan says:

    To Whom it may concern,

    if i would travel to Mexico and stay there for three weeks would i be able to enter the U.S with my E2 visa? It seems the E2 visa is not included in the travel ban for this scenario, correct?


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