U.S. Government Expands Entry Points for International Air Travelers – No Changes to Current Country Specific Travel Restrictions
Beginning in February 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection began restricting travel from several regions where the COVID-19 pandemic had already begun spreading widely. As part of these restrictions, international travelers from these regions who were not prohibited from traveling to the United States because they met one or more of the exceptions to the travel restrictions were nevertheless required to arrive at one of several designated U.S. airports. These airports were reportedly going to serve locations for enhanced COVID-19 screening for arriving international passengers, although anecdotal reports indicate that only limited screening was actually taking place.
Today, the U.S. government announced that international travelers from previously-restricted areas were no longer required to arrive at one of the designated airports and that it was ending the enhanced COVID-19 screening that was supposed to have been taking place. The rationale for the easing of these restrictions was that the government now has “a better understanding of COVID-19 transmission that indicated symptom-based screening has limited effectiveness.”
Importantly, the easing of the arrival location restrictions does not affect the various restrictions that are still in place for travelers from China, Iran, the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Brazil. Only the arrival airport-related restrictions have been eased. Potential travelers who may be subject to these restrictions and who may need National Interest Exceptions to overcome the them are encouraged to consult with their Foster attorney.
Foster will continue to monitor changes related to consular post activities and requirements and will make additional updates available via our firm’s website at www.fosterglobal.com.