In a speech addressing the COVID-19 virus, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday night that he is suspending travel from Europe in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus.

The White House issued a presidential proclamation shortly thereafter that restricts foreign nationals who have been physically present in the Schengen Area from entering the U.S.

The Schengen Area comprises 26 European countries: 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.

Key points:

  • Foreign nationals who have been physically present in the Schengen Area during the previous 14 days will be barred from entering the U.S. Travelers from the United Kingdom are not subject to the ban, as the U.K. is not a member of the Schengen Area.
  • The travel ban takes effect Friday, March 13 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Passengers on board flights that are scheduled to arrive in the U.S. that departed prior to 11:59 pm EDT, March 13, are exempt from the ban.
  • Others exempt from the ban include: lawful permanent residents (LPRs); spouses of U.S. citizens or LPRs; certain parents and siblings of U.S. citizens or LPRs, and a limited number of other foreign nationals.
  • The proclamation directs the Department of State (DOS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to adopt visa issuance and entry in accordance with the travel ban.

BAL Analysis: Additional details are expected as DHS works to implement the travel ban by Friday night. Companies should account for affected employees and reschedule travel accordingly. U.S. citizens are not designated as being subject to the ban in the proclamation. In his speech, Trump said that U.S. citizens who have undergone “appropriate screenings” will be exempt from the ban. This may mean that U.S. citizens arriving from the Schengen Area will be screened upon arrival. Additionally, Trump said that the travel ban will be in effect for 30 days, while the proclamation says the ban will be in effect until further notice. BAL is closely following developments and will alert clients and report additional details as they become available.

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

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