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Overseas Security Advisory Council
Bureau of Diplomatic Security
U.S. Department of State

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OSAC Update/FAQ: Europe Travel Ban

OSAC understands that there are a lot of questions about President Trump’s announcement yesterday that there will be a travel ban applied to Europe. We will try to provide you with as much information as we receive it.

The Proclamation will take effect on Friday, March 13 at 11:59pm (Eastern Daylight Time (U.S. time)) and will be in effect for 30 days.

The Proclamation does not apply to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, diplomatic and official travelers, air and sea crew members, members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children, and certain other categories of travelers. Additional information will most likely come out in the next few days.

The proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (U.S. time) on March 13.  Travelers should check with their airlines or cruise lines regarding any updated information about their travel plans and/or restrictions. 

The Presidential Proclamation suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in Schengen countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States.

o   Schengen includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland

o   It does not include the United Kingdom and Ireland

1.       Which countries does the ban apply to?

a.       The ban is limited to Schengen Area, which does not include the United Kingdom and instead, includes the countries listed below.

b.       “For purposes of this proclamation, the Schengen Area comprises 26 European states: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.”

c.    “Section 1.  Suspension and Limitation on Entry.  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 is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.”

Source: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspension-entry-immigrants-nonimmigrants-certain-additional-persons-pose-risk-transmitting-2019-novel-coronavirus/

2.       How does this affect U.S. Embassy and Consulate personnel?

a.       The Proclamation itself has little if any bearing on what the U.S. Embassy and Consulate personnel are doing on the ground. Some embassies and consulates may be operating at reduced capacity, which means that only emergency American Citizen Services and emergency visa services would be available. 

3.       What guidance is the State Department and the CDC giving to U.S. citizens?

a.       The State Department advised U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad, in general.

b.      The CDC issued a Level 3 Warning for the following countries. They further state that “Travelers returning from the specified countries in Europe must [OSAC’s highlight] stay home for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing.”

Austria

Belgium

Czech Republic

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Iceland

Italy

Latvia

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malta

Netherlands

Norway

Poland

Portugal

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Monaco

San Marino

Vatican City

 

 

c.       The DHS Acting Secretary Wolf’s statements about the proclamation, which will provide further information as it comes up. As of now, we do know from the statement that in the next 48 hours, DHS intends to issue a “supplemental Notice of Arrivals Restriction requiring U.S. passengers that have been in the Schengen Area to travel through select airports where the U.S. Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures.” 

4.       When does this ban take effect? And will it impact European nationals that are already in the United States?

a.       The Proclamation will take effect on Friday, March 13 at 11:59pm (Eastern Daylight Time (U.S. time)), and will be in effect for 30 days.

b.       As of now, the travel ban applies to the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in Schengen countries during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States. 

5.       What will happen as people start coming back to the United States? 

a.       According to the DHS statement above, there will most likely be enhanced screening at select airports. (more information below) Additional information will be clarified soon.

b.       There will most likely be greater number of airports that would have enhanced screening for people returning from Europe.

c.       If we go by what the U.S. did with people coming back from China, enhanced screening would most likely involve travel history questionnaire and temperature checks. Those that are coming back and are showing symptoms associated with the virus would most likely be screened and subjected to mandatory quarantine by medical professional at a nearby facility. If a traveler who spent time in Europe, is re-routed through one of the designated airports and show no symptoms following a health screening, they would be re-booked to their destination and asked to “self-quarantine” at their homes.

d.       A major American carrier has released the following guidance, the full text here, which would most likely be reflected by other carriers:

                                                   i.      Prior to boarding a flight departing to the United States, all customers will be asked if they have visited a country within the Schengen Area, Iran or mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) within the last 14 days. If a customer traveled to a country within the Schengen Area, Iran or mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) within the previous 14 days and is authorized to travel, they must enter the United States through an approved airport.

                                                 ii.      Foreign nationals who have visited a country within the Schengen Area, Iran or mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) within the last 14 days will be denied permission to travel to the United States.

                                               iii.      Airports approved as entry points for customers entering the United States if the customer has visited the Schengen Area, Iran or mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) within the last 14 days?

1.       Atlanta: Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

2.       Dallas-Fort Worth: Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)

3.       Detroit: Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)

4.       Newark, New Jersey: Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)

5.       Honolulu: Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)

6.       New York City: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

7.       Los Angeles: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

8.       Chicago: Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

9.       Seattle: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)

10.   San Francisco: San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

11.   Washington, D.C.: Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD)

                                               iv.      If a customer traveled to a Schengen area country, Iran or mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) within the previous 14 days and is authorized to travel, but is scheduled to arrive at a nonapproved airport, the airline will help reroute the customer to one of the approved airports.

                                                 v.      We encourage customers departing for the United States to arrive at the airport three hours early as we expect this additional screening will lengthen the check-in process. 

6.       What pre-departure screening procedures will be in place on the Europe side for people coming back to the United States? Do we have information on what the aviation industry is doing? 

a.       It will depend on the European airport. It may range from what Italy is doing where they are doing temperature screening and anyone above 99.5 degrees F will not be allowed to board flights to the United States, or it can be no pre-screening procedure, with travel health questionnaire being the other option. We currently do not have confirmed information on what the various European airports are doing regarding flights back to the United States. 

7.       What does this proclamation mean for exempted travelers (U.S. nationals, etc.) coming from someplace other than one of the Schengen countries but having a connecting flight there before landing in the US? 

a.       Additional details / clarifications are needed to determine how the new ban will impact transit passengers. We will push out this information as soon as we know.

For questions about this or about Europe, in general, contact OSACEUR@State.Gov

 

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