The United States has implemented new entry restrictions on those traveling from mainland China in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The restrictions ban most foreign nationals from entering the United States if they have been in China in the past 14 days. They also require mandatory quarantines for U.S. citizens, green card holders, and their immediate family members returning from Hubei Province and health screening for U.S. citizens, green card holders and immediate family members returning from other parts of the Chinese mainland. The United States has canceled visa appointments this week at the U.S. embassy and consulates in China.

Key points:

  • Foreign nationals who were physically present in China, excluding Hong Kong and Macau, during the past 14 days before attempting to travel to the United States will be denied entry. The entry ban does not apply to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, immediate family of U.S. citizens/lawful permanent residents and a limited number of other foreign travelers.
  • U.S. citizens and foreign nationals who are allowed to enter the United States will be diverted to one of 11 U.S. airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, Los Angeles International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport, Detroit Metro Airport, Michigan, Newark Liberty International Airport, and Washington Dulles International Airport.
  • Returning travelers will be subject to a 14-day quarantine if they have visited Hubei Province. Those returning from other parts of mainland China will be subject to a health check and self-screening measures. Available information indicates that these measures will apply to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and others exempt from the entry ban.
  • The U.S. embassy and consulates have canceled all immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments this week. It is not clear when appointments will resume. Those with urgent travel needs should contact BAL.

Background: The coronavirus causes flu-like symptoms and double pneumonia. Thousands of people in China have been infected and some travel-related cases in the U.S. have been detected. The World Health Organization designated the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern, and a number of countries are moving to impose travel and immigration restrictions to stop the virus from spreading. The U.S. State Department last week urged Americans not to travel to China, and several U.S. airlines followed up by canceling flights to and from mainland China. President Donald Trump signed a proclamation imposing the entry ban on Friday.

BAL Analysis: The measures represent a dramatic escalation in the U.S. response to coronavirus. Those planning travel between the U.S. and China are urged to reconsider their plans. Employers and visa applicants in both China and the U.S. should expect continued delays. Employers must be prepared to be flexible with employee schedules and start dates. The response to the coronavirus is evolving rapidly, and BAL will alert clients to additional changes or restrictions as information becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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