The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is poised to lift a requirement that flights arriving from countries that are considered high risk for COVID-19 land at one of 15 U.S. airports.

Key Points:

  • Beginning on Monday, Sept. 14, flights arriving from Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, the United Kingdom and any of the 26 Schengen Area countries will not be required to land at one of the 15 airports. This will save some travelers time because they will be able to head directly to their destination.
  • This change does not affect entry bans on individuals who have been physically present in any of the countries in the past 14 days. These restrictions remain in place at this time, which means the lifting of airport restrictions will only affect those who are exempt from the bans.
  • Among those who are exempt from the physical presence based restrictions are: U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, foreign national spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, certain family members of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, foreign nationals whose entry is in the U.S. national interest and a limited number of others.

Additional Information: The rule to lift the airport restrictions is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register next week.

BAL Analysis: While the change will ease travel procedures for some, it is important to note that the physical presence bans imposed by the administration remain in place at this time, and only those who are exempt from the bans can travel to the U.S. from the countries listed above. These restrictions do not have a set expiration date and will remain in effect until the president lifts them. In the past, restrictions have been expanded to additional countries with little notice, and there continue to be risks associated with international travel. BAL encourages those who are considering international travel to consult with their employer and BAL professional for an individual assessment.

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

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