Last week the Department of State and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would be implementing a temporary travel restriction for most foreign nationals who visited China in the two weeks prior to their travel plans to the United States, in an effort to contain and avoid the spreading of the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 16,000 people around the world. Foreign nationals who additionally hold valid U.S. visa status are additionally subject to these travel restrictions, while permanent residents or dual citizens are not affected.

These restrictions additionally impact US citizens who have traveled to China’s Hubei province, the main area where the outbreak began, in the two weeks leading up to their return to the United States. US citizens returning from this area are subject to a mandatory two-week quarantine, while citizens traveling to mainland China are additionally subject to health screenings at designated ports of entry, with the possibility of a two week self-monitored quarantine.

These restrictions do not apply to:

  • Lawful permanent residents of the United States;
  • Spouses of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
  • Parents or legal guardians of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21;
  • Siblings of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21;
  • Children, foster children, or wards of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or prospective adoptees seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
  • Foreign nationals traveling to the United States at the invitation of the United States Government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus;
  • Nonimmigrants under section 101(a)(15)(C) or (D) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(C) or (D), as a crewmember or any alien otherwise traveling to the United States as air or sea crew;
  • Nonimmigrants on an A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of an official), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6 visa;
  • Foreign nationals whose entry would not pose a significant risk of introducing, transmitting, or spreading the virus, as determined by the CDC Director, or his designee;
  • Foreign nationals whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee; or
  • Foreign nationals whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees.

Throughout this time, USCIS has announced that it would temporarily close its offices in Beijing and Guangzhou until further notice, and that all persons whose appointments have been affected throughout this time can expect new appointment notices to be sent shortly. 

These restrictions do not impact an individual’s eligibility for asylum, and withholding of removal, or protection under UN Convention against Torture.

Our team is closely monitoring all news relating to these travel restrictions. If you have travel plans that could take you through impacted areas, or are a U.S. citizen or foreign national whose plans are impacted by these travel restrictions, reach out to D’Alessio Law Group to learn more about necessary steps to take before moving forward.

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