The U.S. State Department said this week that visa applicants can request reconsideration if their cases were rejected solely because of their presence in a country that was previously covered by a COVID-19 entry ban.

Key Points:

  • Under rules that had been in effect until Monday, Nov. 8, many foreign nationals were barred entry to the U.S. if they had been physically present in the previous 14 days in Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the Schengen Area.
  • Some visa applicants who did not qualify for an exception to the “physical presence” entry bans had their cases rejected.
  • As of Nov. 8, the “physical presence” bans are rescinded and nonimmigrant foreign nationals are now free to travel to the U.S. if they provide (1) proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and (2) a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days before boarding their flight for the U.S.
  • The State Department said that applicants whose cases were rejected solely due to their presence in a country covered by a “physical presence” ban should contact the embassy or consulate where they made the application to request reconsideration.

BAL Analysis: Visa applicants whose cases were rejected solely because they were subject to a “physical presence” ban should contact BAL if they would like to request reconsideration.

The new COVID-19 entry rules apply only to nonimmigrant air travel to the U.S. and do not affect visa issuance. This means the State Department can issue visas regardless of an applicant’s vaccination status or their eligibility for an exception, but subsequent travel to the U.S. will be governed by the new entry protocols. Employers and employees should continue to consult their BAL professional before planning any international travel.

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

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