The United States has issued new travel restrictions and warnings in an effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The restrictions bar most foreign nationals from entering the United States if they have been in Iran in the past 14 days. The U.S. State Department has warned against travel to Iran, Italy and South Korea. The measures follow action taken to limit travel from China early last month.

  • Under a Feb. 29 proclamation, foreign nationals who were physically present in Iran during the past 14 days will be denied entry. The 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 national travelers. A similar ban remains in place for foreign nationals who have been in mainland China.
  • Reports indicate that the U.S. may also impose mandatory screenings for travelers from Italy and South Korea.
  • The State Department has urged Americans not to travel to Iran, citing a number of factors, including the COVID-19 virus. The agency has also recommended against travel to mainland China.
  • Officials advised Americans not to travel to Lombardy or Veneto in Italy or Daegu in South Korea, while advising Americans to reconsider travel to other parts of those countries.

BAL Analysis: The measures represent an escalation in the U.S. response to COVID-19 virus. Those planning travel between the U.S. and China, Iran, Italy or South Korea should be aware of these restrictions and advisories and are advised to closely monitor for additional government announcements. Employers should be prepared to be flexible with employee schedules and start dates for employees traveling from countries that have seen significant COVID-19 outbreaks. The response to the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve, 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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