U.S. President Trump has announced a 30-day suspension of travel by foreign nationals residing or visiting Schengen Zone countries to the U.S. due to concerns over coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a televised speech on 11 March, U.S. President Donald Trump announced the suspension for 30 days of travel to the U.S. by foreign nationals who have been in a country part of the Schengen Zone of Europe in the last 14 days. The entry suspension takes effect today, Friday, 13 March at 11:59 pm (eastern).
U.S. citizens and permanent residents currently in a Schengen Zone country with plans to arrive in the U.S. after the suspension takes effect will be subject to medical screenings. The suspension does not apply to foreign nationals whose plane takes off prior to the effective date and time but lands in the U.S. on 14 March. Several other categories of individuals including certain family members of U.S. residents, diplomats and flight crews are not subject to the restriction.
The 26 countries in the Schengen Zone 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.
The European countries not included in the Schengen Zone are Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
Earlier on 11 March, Acting Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Ken Cuccinelli, stated the Trump Administration was considering imposing travel restrictions from Europe. Cuccinelli made the statement during a hearing entitled “Confronting the Coronavirus: The Federal Response” held by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security. The Acting Director stated that Europe presents a particular problem due to the number of cases of the coronavirus and the free movement of people throughout the Schengen Zone.
Leaders of the European Union (EU) have been critical of the announcement of the travel suspension.