New COVID Strain Brings Back a Version of Travel Ban

On account of the news concerning the new strain of COVID 19 discovered in South Africa, the President on November 26 signed a new proclamation again banning entry to the US for some individuals physically present in seven impacted countries within the last 14 days, absent a waiver. The impacted countries are Botswana, Eswatini (Swaziland), Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, or Zimbabwe.


As before, the new restrictions do not apply to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents (green card holders), those working on pandemic response and traveling at the request of the U.S. government, air and sea crewpersons, noncitizens who qualify for a National Interest (“NIE:), and certain other exceptions.


It isn’t clear that the same implementing instructions and grounds for NIEs will apply as before; further instructions will likely be forthcoming.