President Trump restricts travel to U.S. from Europe in attempt to contain Coronavirus

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he is restricting travel to the United States from more than 25 European countries in an attempt to contain the Coronavirus.

The ban, which will take effect at 11:59 p.m. on Friday (March 13) and last at least 30 days, applies to foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary said in a statement that the restrictions do not apply to American citizens who have been screened at select U.S. airports before entering the U.S. The restrictions will also not apply to Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) of the U.S.; children and spouses of U.S. citizens or LPRs; or to parents and siblings of U.S. citizens or LPRs that are under 21, according to a Proclamation and DHS Statement issued shortly after the President addressed the nation from the Oval Office.

"(The Center for Disease Control and Prevention), along with State and local health departments, has limited resources, and the public health system could be overwhelmed if sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus occurred in the United States on a large scale," Trump said in the Proclamation. "Sustained human-to-human transmission has the potential to cause cascading public health, economic, national security, and societal consequences."

The Proclamation and travel suspension specifically impacts foreign nationals who have been physically present in the countries located in Europe's "Schengen Area", at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

The United Kingdom is exempt from all restrictions in the Proclamation.

"Given the importance of protecting persons within the United States from the threat of this harmful communicable disease, I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States," Trump said in the Proclamation. "The free flow of commerce between the United States and the Schengen Area countries remains an economic priority for the United States, and I remain committed to facilitating trade between our nations."

The Trump administration had previously issued travel restrictions on foreign nationals who had visited China or Iran in the 14-day period before attempting to enter the United States.

There have been more than 124,000 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus worldwide, including 987 in the U.S. as of Wednesday, March 12, according to the World Health Organization.

Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm continues to monitor the situation closely. Our attorneys are actively identifying specifically-impacted cases and strategies and advising our clients accordingly.

As always, please do not hesitate to call us at 704-442-8000 or contact us via email with any questions.

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