As countries around the world ease COVID-19 entry restrictions this summer, employees may be planning trips to visit family abroad or vacation overseas and renew their visas simultaneously. A number of U.S. travel restrictions remain in place, however, and employers and employees are urged to continue to take additional precautions, consult their BAL professional and weigh considerations when planning international travel.

Key travel considerations:

  • Physical presence bans. The U.S. continues to bar entry (including re-entry) to many foreign nationals who have been physically present in Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the Schengen Area in the past 14 days. The physical presence bans have no expiration date and will remain in place until President Joe Biden lifts or terminates them. Exemptions are available to a limited number of travelers.
  • U.S. consulates. Many U.S. consulates around the world are still operating on a limited basis, and applicants for visas and exemptions from the COVID-19 travel restrictions should expect delays. Travelers should consult the appropriate consulate’s website for the most up-to-date information regarding appointment availability and requirements for expedited requests.
  • U.S. passport renewal delays. U.S. citizens in need of a passport or passport renewal should submit an application as soon as possible due to delays in passport processing. Under a recent change, U.S. citizens may use passports that expired on or after Jan. 1, 2020, to return to the U.S. in some instances; however, this exception does not apply to individuals traveling from the U.S. to a foreign country.
  • COVID-19 procedures in foreign countries. Many foreign countries are still enforcing COVID-19 travel restrictions and health protocols, including entry bans, pre-travel testing requirements, screening upon arrival and mandatory quarantines. Some countries have different policies for vaccinated travelers. Travelers should be aware of their destination country’s requirements and factor additional time and procedures into their travel plans. The United States requires a negative COVID-19 test for all international air travelers. More information is available here.
  • U.S./Canada/Mexico land borders. The U.S., Canada and Mexico continue to enforce a suspension on “non-essential” travel at land borders. The suspension will remain in place until at least 11:59 p.m. EDT on July 21.

BAL Analysis: Recent changes make travel from the U.S. to many countries easier. A number of U.S. travel restrictions remain in place, however, which may make re-entry to the United States difficult or impossible. Travelers should also anticipate delays or limited availability of consular services abroad. 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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