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Immigration and COVID-19

March 24, 2020


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled the COVID-19 virus a “public health emergency of international concern.” On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a “pandemic.”

The ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted countries differently and prompted some governments, including the United States, to implement new travel restrictions and policies. The situation is still very fluid and subject to change at any time.

As of March 11, 2020, the United States has imposed the following restrictions on travelers to the United States:

  • Any U.S. citizen returning to the United States who has been in Hubei province, China, in the previous 14 days may be subject to up to 14 days of quarantine.
  • Any U.S. citizen returning to the United States who has been in the rest of mainland China within the previous 14 days may be required to undergo a health screening and possible self-quarantine.
  • Any non-U.S. citizen (including Lawful Permanent Residents) who has traveled to either China or Iran within 14 days prior to seeking entry into the United States is banned from entering the United States.
  • Non-U.S. citizens traveling to the United States from continental Europe (excluding the United Kingdom) may be banned from entering the United States for the next 30 days. U.S. citizens returning from Europe may also be restricted and/or quarantined.

Anyone considering travelling abroad should first check with the embassy of their destination country to find out if there are any visa or travel restrictions in place that might impact travel plans. Also check the U.S. Department of State’s website for country-specific information related to COVID-19.

Companies that have sponsored non-immigrant employees such as L-1 or H-1B (and especially employees who might need to apply for a new visa before returning to the United States) should consider limiting their travel abroad. Alternatively, plan for the possibility the employee will be stuck abroad for an extended period of time as U.S. embassies begin to shut down or limit their services to emergencies for U.S. citizens only. For current information, check the U.S. Department of State’s COVID-19 page.

For more information, please visit Schwabe's COVID-19 resource page.


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