30 Nov 2021

United States

U.S. Imposes Entry Ban on Travelers from Certain African Countries

On November 26, 2021, President Biden signed a Presidential Proclamation (PP) related to the ongoing national emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Health Organization recently identified a new variant of concern known as Omicron, first detected in South Africa. To mitigate the risks associated with this variant, President Biden suspended entry into the U.S., as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of travelers from Republic of Botswana, Kingdom of Eswatini, Kingdom of Lesotho, Republic of Malawi, Republic of Mozambique, Republic of Namibia, Republic of South Africa, and Republic of Zimbabwe. Effective November 29, 2021, travelers who were physically present within the countries referenced above during the 14-day period preceding their attempted entry are not permitted to travel to the U.S. unless an exemption or exception applies.

The individuals below are exempt from this PP, although exempted travelers may still face entry restrictions under last month’s PP 10294, related to COVID-19 vaccine requirements.

  • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs)
  • Noncitizen U.S. nationals
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens and LPRs
  • Noncitizen parents of minor (under 21 and unmarried) U.S. citizens and LPRs
  • Noncitizen minor (under 21 and unmarried) siblings of minor (under 21 and unmarried) U.S. citizens and LPRs
  • Noncitizen children of U.S. citizens or LPRs
  • Prospective adoptees entering in IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications
  • Those traveling on diplomatic and air and sea crew visas
  • Noncitizens invited by the U.S. government for purposes related to COVID-19 containment or mitigation
  • Noncitizen members of the U.S. Armed Forces and spouses and children of U.S. Armed Forces members
  • Noncitizens granted a National Interest Exception to this PP by the U.S. Secretary of State, Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees
  • Noncitizens whose entry furthers U.S. law enforcement objectives based on a recommendation from the Attorney General or his designee

Like previous travel bans, it is expected that U.S. embassies and consulates within these countries will cease issuing visas. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is responsible for ensuring that the PP is enforced at the border and all U.S. ports of entry. This PP will remain in effect until terminated by President Biden. However, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will evaluate conditions on a monthly basis and issue a recommendation to the President regarding whether to continue, modify, or terminate the travel/entry ban.

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The content above is provided for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. Use of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. 

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Robin Paulino


J. Anthony Smith


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