Travel Restrictions to the US related to COVID-19

Last updated on September 18, 2020 


July 16, 2020

National Interest Exceptions for Certain Travelers from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland

US Department of State announced today that certain academics, students, and others may qualify for National Interest Exceptions under Presidential Proclamations 9993 (Schengen Area) and 9996 (United Kingdom and Ireland). This means that qualified student travelers who are applying for or have valid visas may travel directly to the US even if those proclamations remain in effect.

  • F-1 students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 visas, do not need to seek a national interest exception to travel. If you do not have a visa stamp, apply for an F-1 visa as soon as possible.
  • J-1 students from those areas may contact the nearest US embassy or consulate to initiate an exception request even if you already have valid a J-1 visa stamp. If you do not have a visa stamp, apply for a J-1 visa as soon as possible.
  • Granting national interest exceptions for this travel to the US from the Schengen area, the UK, and Ireland, will assist with the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

July 13, 2020

Update for the Schengen Area 

For the original announcement, please read our message from March 12 below.

Starting July 13, some consulates have begun posting "national interest" exception criteria for F-1/J-1 international students and J-1 scholars (click here for sample guidance). 

The protocol at each US embassy or consulate varies, so check your nearest US consulate's website. You may also look up current visa wait times for all embassies and consulates.  


May 26, 2020

REVISED -- The US government has announced that effective 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on May 26, 2020, foreign nationals who were physically present in Brazil within 14 days of seeking admission/entry into the US will be denied entry. This does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the US that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on May 26, 2020. For a list of exceptions, please review our February 1 announcement below. 


April 23, 2020

Read our summary, analysis, and impact of the executive proclamation on immigration that was issued by the White House on April 22, 2020.


Update - September 18, 2020

9/18/2020 Update: These agreements have been extended again through October 21.

8/19/2020 Update: These agreements have been extended again through September 21.

7/21/2020 Update: These agreements have been extended again through August 20.

6/17/2020 Update: These agreements have been extended again through July 21.

5/19/2020 Update: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that by mutual agreement, Canada, Mexico, and the US have decided to extend restrictions barring nonessential travel across their respective shared borders until June 21.

4/20/2020 Update: Canada, Mexico, and the US have decided to extend restrictions barring nonessential travel across their respective shared borders for another 30 days amid the coronavirus pandemic.

March 20, 2020 

By mutual agreement, to fight COVID-19, Canada and the US have agreed to temporarily limit non-essential travel between the two countries at land ports of entry and  ferry terminals along the US-Canada border. This change is temporary, starting 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST) on March 20 until 11:59 pm EST on April 20, 2020. At this time, this change does not apply to air, freight rail, or sea travel between the US and Canada, but does apply to passenger rail and ferry travel between two countries.

Mexico and the US have also agreed to the same temporary restrictions on non-essential travel, effective March 21 and will remain in effect for at least 30 days. 

"Non-essential travel" is defined by the US Department of Homeland Security as tourism or recreational in nature. Traveling to attend educational institutions and people traveling to work in the US are considered essential and permissible even for foreign nationals. So, it should not affect international students and scholars.  


March 14, 2020

The US government has announced additional, temporary travel restrictions related to the coronavirus outbreak (Presidential Proclamation 9996).

Effective 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 16, 2020, foreign nationals who were physically present in the United Kingdom or Ireland within 14 days of seeking admission/entry into the US will be denied entry. For exceptions, please review our February 1 announcement below. 

This change does not apply to people aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the US that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 16, 2020.

We are in the process of reaching out to international students and scholars who have reported a travel plan to the affected countries at this time. If you know of an Emory international student or scholar who might be currently in the affected area, please let us know so that we can extend our support. 


March 12, 2020

The US government has announced additional, temporary travel restrictions related to the coronavirus outbreak (Presidential Proclamation 9993)

Effective 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 13, 2020, foreign nationals who were physically present within the Schengen Area within 14 days of seeking admission/entry into the US will be denied entry. For exceptions, please review our February 1 announcement below. 

This change does not apply to people aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the US that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 13, 2020.

The affected countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. It does not include the United Kingdom.

We are in the process of reaching out to international students and scholars who have reported a travel plan to the affected countries at this time. If you know of an Emory international student or scholar who might be currently in the affected area, please let us know so that we can extend our support. 


February 29, 2020

The US government has announced additional, temporary travel restrictions related to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Effective 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time on March 2, 2020, foreign nationals who visited Iran within 14 days of seeking admission/entry into the US will be denied entry. For exceptions, please review our February 1 announcement below. 

This change does not apply to people aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the US that departed prior to 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time on March 2, 2020.

No Emory international student or scholar has reported a travel plan to Iran at this time. However, if you know of an Emory international student or scholar who might be currently in Iran, please let us know so that we can extend our support. 


February 1, 2020

The US Government has declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency. As a result, effective February 2 at 5:00 p.m., temporary travel restrictions will be imposed to US citizens as well as foreign nationals who have traveled to China.  

Foreign nationals who visited China within 14 days of seeking admission/entry into the United States will be denied entry. Airlines have been informing their passengers that people will not be allowed to board US-bound flights if they do not meet the requirements for entry into the US.

However, the following groups of foreign nationals are exempt from the new entry requirements:

  • US lawful permanent residents (green card holders);
  • The spouse of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident;
  • The parent or legal guardian of a US citizen or permanent resident, if the US citizen or permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21;
  • The sibling of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21;
  • The child, foster child, or ward of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the relevant visa classifications;
  • A foreign national traveling at the invitation of the US government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus;
  • Nonimmigrant crewmembers;
  • Foreign nationals seeking entry or transiting the US under an A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4 or NATO-6 visa;
  • A foreign national whose entry would not pose a significant risk of transmitting the virus, as determined by the Centers for Disease Control; and
  • A foreign national whose entry would further important US law enforcement interests or would be in the US national interest. 

ISSS is in the process of identifying Emory international students and scholars who would be subject to new entry restrictions in order to offer advising and support or to connect you with university resources during this time. If you have concerns, please refer to our emergency protocol so that we can assist you both during and after normal business hours.