Virginia, US

Mar 12 2020

Guidance for Travelers from Schengen Countries Following U.S. Travel Ban

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

At a Glance

  • It is strongly recommended that, wherever possible, travelers impacted by the U.S. entry ban return to the United States before the ban is implemented, which is expected to be on March 13, 2020 at 11:59 pm EDT.

  • After March 13, impacted travelers from the Schengen Area may need to make arrangements to prolong their stay in Europe, or to travel to another country of residence.

  • All travelers, particularly EU citizens, should prepare for questioning at the U.S. border about their recent travel patterns.

The situation

Travelers from the Schengen Area who are affected by the U.S. travel ban should check local rules to identify options to extend their stay, including extension of their Schengen visa if applicable. Travelers whose stay in the Schengen Area is prolonged and will involve significant hands-on work should address this with local labour authorities.

A closer look

If the ban on travel will result in stay in the Schengen area that is longer than 90 in 180 days, the following steps should be taken:

  • Schengen visa holders. Schengen visa holders can apply for visa extension in the Schengen country where they are currently located at specific authority locations. Proof of force majeure (unforeseeable circumstances) is typically required but should be satisfied by the current exceptional circumstances.

  • Visa-exempt passport holders. Visa-exempt passport holders cannot apply for a Schengen visa in case of overstay based on their visa-exempt passport, even if due to force majeure. European authorities have not yet announced how overstay due to travel restrictions will be addressed. It is advisable to consult local border authorities to confirm whether force majeure exception also applies in this situation, or determine if other provisions have been put in place.

     

Impact

Employers and foreign nationals are advised to account for restrictions in their travel plans to the United States.  All travelers should expect questions about recent travel patterns, and EU citizens may be particularly impacted, even if they are travelling from non-Schengen countries. For FAQs on the U.S. travel ban, see the March 12 alert.

Non-EU citizens currently in Europe who are not able to return to the United States before implementation of the ban, should prepare to extend their stay in the Schengen Area, and consult with local authorities if activities will fall outside business travel exemptions, or travel to another country of residence.

Background

  • U.S. travel ban. The U.S. travel ban will take effect on Friday, March 13, 2020 11:59 pm EDT (4:59 am CET +1 (Paris)) and prohibits foreign nationals from entering the United States if they have been physically present in the Schengen Area within 14 days before their attempted entry. Exemptions apply to U.S. nationals, U.S. permanent residents and certain family members, among others.

  • Schengen area. The Schengen Area comprises the following countries: 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.

Looking ahead

Fragomen expects immigration and travel restrictions to continue as global governments deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Please continue to check Fragomen’s dedicated website for the most up to date information.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected]