a close up of a passport

You know a policy is great when there are more questions than answers, and with any hope, this post will make your clarity great, again. By presidential decree, Donald J. Trump has initiated a 30 day ban on Europe – USA travel, but there are clear cut exceptions and it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with being from Europe.

To make sure you know exactly how this breaking news policy affects you and your travels, here’s a full FAQ breakdown…

a row of blue and white machines14 Day Ban For All Non USA Residents Who Visited Schengen Area

The simplest way to look at this new US policy decreed by President Donald J. Trump is a mandatory 14 day waiting period for any non US citize nor permanent resident who’s been inside the Schengen Area of the European Union, the UK or Ireland before they can enter the USA. It doesn’t matter if you’re European or any other nationality, just whether you’ve been there lately.

Schengen Zone 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.

If you’ve visited other non-Schengen European countries, you’re ok, for now.

Does the US-Europe travel ban apply to all EU nationals?

Here’s the most important takeaway – it doesn’t matter if your passport is from a European Union Schengen Zone country or from Mars – all that matters is if you’ve been in a Schengen Zone country, or the UK and Ireland lately. Obviously, citizens of Mars may face their own immigration issues.

If you are a New Zealander who was visiting Europe before a trip to the USA, you’re excluded, but if you’re a European who’s been in New Zealand for the last two weeks coming to the USA, you’re not. If you’re an EU citizen who has US permanent residence, you’re also exempted.

How long will this Trump EU-USA travel ban last?

The travel ban takes effect Friday, March 13th 2020 and lasts for 30 days. By our math, that should mean an end date of April 11th/12th. That doesn’t mean the policy won’t be extended, or ended early. The administration has noted that it will review the situation as it evolves.

What this means is that anyone hoping to visit the USA in the next 30 days must be outside of the Schengen Zone of Europe or the UK, Ireland for at least 14 days before they hope to enter, regardless where they’re from.

What defines a “US Permanent Resident”?

A permanent resident of the United States of America is typically defined as “green card” holder, which means you have the indefinite right to live and work in the USA. You do not need to be a US citizen, or even born on US soil to be a permanent resident.

This ban does not apply to permanent residents, aka people with green cards through work, family or other means, or US citizens holding US passports. You can read more on the distinction here.

It’s important to note that children, parents, siblings or spouses of lawful permanent residents may also travel during this time.

london-red-phone-boothIs the UK really not included in the ban?

No longer. The United Kingdom and Ireland are now part of the restrictions for travel into the USA.

As noted, all travelers must wait 14 days to enter the USA from their last day in a Schengen EU country, if they’re not a US permanent resident. It’s unclear whether the ban counts starting March 16th or March 13th, when the others began. Either way, it’s currently aimed at 30 days.

Can American still travel to Europe?

Totally, but it’s not without challenges. Since airlines can’t transport any non permanent residents of the USA who have been in UK, Ireland or Schengen area countries to the USA, it’s likely that the vast majority of flights from these areas will be cancelled for the next 30 days.

Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess.

There’s nothing stopping a permanent resident of the USA from going to Europe and having an amazing trip, but if you’re making future plans, you will want to consider the fluidity of the situation.

Upon return in the US, there’s no mandatory quarantine for US citizens, but they can expect questions from CBP or additional health screening on arrival.

Tiny Earth globe over the surface covered with the multiple bank note billsWhat if I have a booking and can’t travel now?

If a government is not allowing you to travel, it’s a completely different ball game than you deciding you don’t want to go by yourself. In circumstances such as this one, airlines should offer a full refund or at the very least, travel credit for the entire amount, without any change or cancellation fees.

Speak directly to the airline operating your flight or the hotel you’ve booked to sort out any changes or cancellations. If you’re cancelling a trip that’s not being hindered by a government mandate, it’s actually better to wait and see if better cancellation options pop up, than proactively cancel.

Isn’t there already a pandemic presence in the USA?

Yes, indeed. There are already quite a few cases in the United States, but the Trump administration notes that their response was better than any other country, so this is a move to prevent a further spread by all those other countries. You can make of that what you wish.

Since the move was done unilaterally, without consulting the European Union or other world groups, the European Commission voiced their disapproval of the measures in the media today and this may create the risk of further retaliatory measures in Europe for US travelers.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. “The travel ban takes effect Friday, March 13th 2020”

    While technically correct, it takes effect at 23:59 EST, i.e. in practice it takes effect on the 14th. It also does not apply to flights already in the air at that time.

    1. You’re right on the 14 days, by my count, but I’d think you’d be ok. If anything they’d need to just book you the next morning, but my assumption would be fine by a day.

  2. How will they know if you have visited a European Country in the last 14 days? I was in Spain last week and I didn’t even have to show my passport so no record of entry or departure.

  3. I am planning to fly in US next month from Europe but not Schengen zone. My flight will have a 2 hrs layover in Paris. Is this layover counting as a visit in Schengen? Can I consider the inside of the airport as a neutral zone?

  4. So, American citizens can fly to Europe for a trip? I see UK was added to list, will this affect my upcoming trip to the UK?

  5. I am a UK citizen living in London. My daughter is an American citizen living in New York where she is getting married next week. I would like to be at the wedding, as planned. I understand from the regulations that as a close relative of a citizen, I can enter the USA at one of the designated airports. However, I will then be liable to self-quarantine for 14 days after my arrival. My question is can I get up and leave the USA within that 14 day mandatory self-quarantine period? I would have stayed for a week or 10 days but now I would prefer to arrive the day before the wedding and leave the day after. I would arrive in the USA, assuming I can still find a flight, with a clear coronavirus test and proof of my family connection. Any advice? I would like to know that I will be able to leave the USA if I can find a flight out!

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