We previously wrote about the U.S. government’s requirements for travelers returning to the U.S. from abroad. The government has since modified these requirements. Specifically, the government has changed its COVID-19 testing requirement for international travelers. It has also implemented new travel restrictions in light of the emergence of the Omicron variant.

COVID-19 Testing

All air passengers 2 years or older with a flight departing to the U.S. from a foreign country are now required to show a negative COVID-19 viral test result taken no more than 1 day before travel. Alternatively, travelers may show documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days. Air passengers will be required to confirm in the form of an attestation that the information they present is true.

Travel Restrictions

The United States government has also put in place a new travel restriction from certain Southern African countries.  The proclamation went into effect on November 29, 2021. It will last until the president ends or modifies it based on the recommendation of the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The new order restricts entry into the U.S. of noncitizens who were physically present within the following countries during the 14-day period preceding their entry:

  • Republic of Botswana
  • Kingdom of Eswatini
  • Kingdom of Lesotho
  • Republic of Malawi
  • Republic of Mozambique
  • Republic of Namibia
  • Republic of South Africa
  • Republic of Zimbabwe

As with prior travel restrictions, the proclamation does not apply to the following groups of people:

  • U.S. lawful permanent residents
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents
  • Parents or legal guardians of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21
  • Siblings of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21
  • Children of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents
  • Any noncitizen or group of noncitizens whose entry would be in the national interest

If you are thinking about entering the U.S. from one of the above countries, we recommend the following:

  • Seek a consultation with our firm to determine whether you are eligible for an exception to the travel ban, knows as a National Interest Exception (NIE) Waiver.
  • Consider spending 14 days in a safe third country before re-entering the U.S.
  • If you book travel, make refundable travel arrangements that can be cancelled or rescheduled if needed.