Several Presidential Proclamations suspending travel to the U.S. from abroad due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been issued since January 31, 2020, each building upon the last. Now, restrictions on those traveling from the United Kingdom and Ireland have been added, according to the most recent proclamation, which outlines the short history of these proclamations and expands the restrictions.

By midnight EDT on March 16, 2020 (4:00 a.m. GMT on March 17), foreign nationals who are not yet in the air who have been in the United Kingdom or Ireland during the preceding 14 days will not be allowed to enter the U.S. The United Kingdom and Ireland joins the list of other restricted countries: China, Iran, and the 26 countries Schengen area countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

The goal is to prevent all excluded individuals from boarding aircraft, but covered individuals who arrive in the U.S. will be turned back. This includes individuals travelling under the visa waiver program pursuant to ESTA. Anyone subject to the proclamations who attempts to travel with ESTA will have their ESTA cancelled. Anyone who fraudulently or willfully attempts to circumvent these restrictions will be subject to removal. Air carriers also may be subject to fines for each banned individual they bring to the U.S.

These proclamations do not prevent U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents (“Green Card” holders), or close family members of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents from entering the United States. Other exempted individuals include air or sea crew members, members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their family members, and certain types of foreign government officials. There are also some general exemptions for those whose entry would be in the national interest or whose entry does not pose a significant risk of spreading the virus. Individuals who enter under these exemptions will be subject to enhanced screening at 13 currently designated airports.

These restrictions will prevent:

  • Newly hired foreign nationals living abroad from coming to the U.S. to start employment; and
  • Foreign nationals living and working in the U.S. from travelling abroad and returning – even in emergency situations or to consular process.

We do not know how long these circumstances will last. The restrictions will remain in effect “until terminated” by President Donald Trump. To discuss questions regarding current hiring strategies and travel issues, please reach out to your Jackson Lewis attorney.


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Photo of Forrest G. Read IV Forrest G. Read IV

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice…

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice focuses on assisting employers in obtaining employment-based nonimmigrant visas (e.g., H-1B, L, O, TN) for foreign national employees and work-related immigrant (green card) visas, including PERM Labor Certifications, and advising employers on compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations. He has broad experience in advising large, mid-size and small employers on their various immigration needs and developing strategies to help them navigate through complex immigration issues. He also has particular experience in counseling employers in the health care industry and addressing immigration-related issues that arise for their broad range of health care professional employees (including advising on and obtaining employment authorization for medical residents and fellows and obtaining J-1 visa waivers for foreign national physicians completing their medical training in the United States). His immigration practice also includes defending employers in connection with Department of Labor H-1B and H-2B investigations.

Mr. Read’s employment law experience includes representing management, particularly academic medical centers in the GME context, in a wide array of workplace disputes and litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including matters related to discrimination, retaliation, harassment, disability, family and medical leave, various wage and hour issues, contracts, and intentional torts. He advises academic medical centers on the interplay between applicable academic law and employment law and the ramifications of what are divergent legal requirements and standards. Mr. Read also provides counsel with respect to the legal impact of competency standards for residents and trainees in GME, including situations involving discipline, remediation, and dismissal. He provides advice and guidance in the peer review process, including provision of verification and assessment of training in response to third party inquiries.

As a member of the Firm’s Corporate Diversity Counseling group, Mr. Read also has experience in providing assessments and making recommendations to corporate and institutional clients with respect to diversity and inclusion policies and initiatives, conducting related internal investigations, and shaping, developing and enforcing effective policies and initiatives to ensure consistency with client values and in furtherance of business goals and objectives.