The Proclamation states that the US Government cannot effectively evaluate and monitor all of the travellers arriving from Europe, and that undetected infected individuals could threaten national security. The travel ban applies to most foreign nationals who, in the prior 14 days, have been in the Schengen Area, which comprises 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. It does not include the United Kingdom, though it could be expanded later.
This Proclamation is similar to Proclamation 9984 issued on 31 January 2020, restricting travel from China, and Proclamation 9992, issued 29 February 2020, restricting travel from Iran.
Who is impacted by the new travel ban?
Travellers who have been present in the Schengen Area may enter the United States only if they are on flights that depart before 23:59 EDT on 13 March. It will remain in effect until terminated by the President.
The travel ban applies widely based on travel history, not just to citizens of the named countries. The following categories of people are not subject to the ban:
Travellers not subject to the ban may still be required to undergo special screening or other extraordinary measures upon arrival to the US after physical presence in Europe.
The government has not yet clarified how one would demonstrate eligibility for an exception. Someone entering on the basis of a familial relationship to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident should be prepared to document that relationship.
What to expect?
While implementation policies have not yet been released, this Proclamation will impact multiple aspects of immigration and travel for foreign nationals wishing to enter the United States.
The State Department, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Homeland Security are charged with ensuring that no foreign national subject to the travel ban boards an aircraft travelling to the United States. The Secretary of Homeland Security may establish new procedures for all US ports of entry. The travel ban is very likely to impact visa adjudication as well. The Proclamation warns that any alien who circumvents the travel ban through fraud, willful misrepresentation of a material fact, or illegal entry will be a priority for removal (deportation).