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New US Travel Bans Due to Omicron Variant

After just celebrating the end of COVID-related US travel bans in early November, the various unknown factors pertaining to the new COVID variant, B.1.1.529 (Omicron), has resulted in a new Presidential Proclamation banning travel from certain countries to the US.

 

When do the new travel restrictions become effective?

The new proclamation, released by President Biden on November 26, 2021, becomes effective on at 12:01 a.m. EST on November 29, 2021.

 

Which countries are impacted by the latest travel ban?

This proclamation will impact travelers who are entering the US from or have been physically presently in one of the following countries in the fourteen (14) days prior to travel:

  • 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. 

 

Are there any exceptions (or exclusions) to the proclamation?

Of course, there are always exceptions! This latest travel ban does not apply to the following:

  • Citizens of the US;
  • Lawful Permanent Residents (or “green card holders”) of the US;
  • Noncitizen spouses of a US citizen or US Lawful Permanent Resident;
  • Noncitizen siblings of a US citizen or US Lawful Permanent Resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21;
  • Any noncitizen who is the child, foster child, or ward of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the US pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
  • Those traveling as a nonimmigrant pursuant to a C-1, D, or C-1/D nonimmigrant visa as a crewmember or any noncitizen otherwise traveling to the US as air or sea crew;
  • Those traveling at the invitation of the US Government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus;
  • Any noncitizen who is a member of the US Armed Forces and any noncitizen who is a spouse or child of a member of the US Armed Forces;
  • Any noncitizen whose entry would further important US law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee; or
  • Any noncitizen whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees.

 

How long will this most recent travel ban last?

If you know the answer to this, please let us know. The real question is whether this Omicron variant will result in additional travel bans, restrictions, or lock-downs.

 

Stay tuned for the latest from the MPC immigration team as we closely monitor these restrictions and other significant changes in US and Canadian immigration!