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Important updates about COVID-19-related international travel restrictions; new CDC coronavirus testing requirements

President Donald Trump announced Monday his intention to repeal an executive order which limits travel to the United States from certain countries. However, the incoming Biden administration may not let the order take effect, maintaining the status quo or even tightening current restrictions.

Trump signed a proclamation rescinding a previously issued executive order that had suspended entry of foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. from Europe’s “Schengen Area,” the United Kingdom, Ireland and Brazil. The restrictions remain in place for travel to the U.S. from Iran and China.

“Public health officials in the jurisdictions have a proven record of working with the United States to share accurate and timely COVID-19 testing and trend data, and the United States has active collaborations with the jurisdictions regarding how to make travel safe between our respective countries,” Trump wrote in the proclamation.

The bans are set to expire as of 12:01 a.m. ET on Jan. 26, according to the proclamation. But, the Biden administration – which will be sworn in on Jan. 20 – said through a spokesperson they did not plan to lift the restrictions once they take office.

“With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” incoming White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki wrote on Twitter shortly after the proclamation was released. “On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26.  In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

The attorneys at Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm continue to monitor the situation closely and will alert clients as circumstances evolve.

New CDC COVID-19 test requirements

The proclamation lifting some international travel restrictions comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prepares to implement new COVID-19 testing measures for all air passengers arriving in the United States.

The CDC order goes into effect on Jan. 26 and requires all “air passengers arriving to the U.S. from a foreign country to get tested no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to present the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding (a) flight.”

The order applies to all travelers arriving to the United States via plane including American citizens and legal permanent residents. Passengers must present “a paper or electronic copy of their test result for review by the airline” before boarding their plane.

More information about the new CDC coronavirus testing requirements can be found here.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm at 704-442-8000 or via email with any questions.

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