The U.S. has this week imposed new travel restrictions on South Africa and seven other African countries following the emergence of the new Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus.
Under a proclamation from the White House which took effect at 12:01am EST Nov 29, the U.S. has banned entry to most foreign (immigrant and non-immigrant) nationals who have been present in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa or Zimbabwe in the last 14 days.
Previous COVID-19 entry bans on certain regions have blocked both entry and the issue of visas, though the USCIS has not yet published additional guidance on how they will implement the proclamation, including if the usual “national interest” exceptions will apply.
The entry restrictions do not apply to U.S. citizens, green card holders, spouses or close family members of citizens/green card holders, those invited by the government to help the spread of COVID-19, air/sea crew and a limited number of other individuals.
A wider travel ban was rescinded on November 8th, and foreign nationals are now generally permitted to enter the U.S. providing that they have received a full series of an approved vaccine. These new restrictions on southern Africa apply to individuals regardless of their vaccination status. President Biden insisted last week that they were imposed as a “precautionary measure” until the more information on the Omicron variant is known – a process which could take weeks.
© Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC 2021. The above text is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.