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LATEST NEWS ALERT: Biden Administration Extends COVID-19 Travel Ban – (01/26/21, UPDATED 05/13/21))

**5/13/21 UPDATE: Several COVID-19 travel bans are in place, with limited National Interest Exception (NIE) waivers being issued by consulates abroad. Some news outlets had speculated the ban may lifted as early as mid-May, depending upon the progress of COVID vaccination in the United States, but the situation remains fluid. Artists from Abroad will update with the latest news as soon as the travel ban is lifted or clearer guidance is made available for petitioners seeking to obtain NIE waivers for guest artists.

In light of several recent strains of the COVID-19 virus that are spreading quickly, President Biden has extended the Trump Administration’s ban on travelers from Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Schengen Area countries, and to that list he has added South Africa. This ban, effective today and to remain in effect until terminated by the President, applies to non-U.S. travelers, with limited exceptions, who have had a physical presence in the aforementioned countries within 14 days of intended entry to the United States.

Travelers are instructed to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which requires all travelers age two and older to wear masks, which may be removed for brief periods while eating or drinking. The federal mask order, which was signed last week, mandates travelers within the U.S. and those who enter from abroad wear masks when traveling on airplanes, trains, ships, intercity buses, and while on federal property. The same executive order builds upon a CDC order that requires all international travelers (including U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents) to produce proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 3 days prior to entry or proof of recovery and to comply with applicable CDC guidance and recommendations. Currently the CDC advises travelers to self-quarantine for seven days upon arrival and to consider getting a new COVID-19 test within three to five days. These are not yet mandated steps unless specified by a state or locality, but some news reports indicate that quarantine and retesting requirements may be coming.

Helpful links:

  • CDC’s FAQ provides information about the new requirement for proof of negative COVID-19 test or recovery from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving in the United States.
  • National Interest Exceptions for Certain Travelers from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland. Note that this webpage was last updated prior to the Biden Administration and a separate page consolidates all COVID-19 Travel Restrictions and Exceptions, which includes India as of early May 2021. U.S. petitioners should contact the beneficiary’s nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to inquire about a national interest exception and be prepared to present a strong case for how an exception would “assist with the [U.S.] economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and bolster key components of our transatlantic relationship.”

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