Reacting to the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan City in Central China, the Trump Administration has issued a proclamation prohibiting anyone from entering the United States who has been physically present anywhere in China within 14 days of seeking US entry. The prohibition has no fixed end date, but is to be reviewed every 15 days by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The prohibition does not apply to US citizens or lawful permanent residents, their spouses, or their minor children. If the citizen or permanent resident is a child under age 21, the prohibition does not apply to the child’s parents, guardians, or minor siblings. It also does not apply to anyone who is traveling on a diplomatic or crewmember visa or to a handful of additional, unusual situations.

All other travelers to the United States who have been in China during the previous 14 days either will not be allowed to board a US-bound airline at their port of origin or will be denied admission when they arrive. This includes employees of US companies who are temporarily in China for business or personal reasons and seek to return on their valid US work-authorized visas, such as H-1B or L-1 visas. It also includes foreign students on F-1 visas who may be employed at US companies with work permits under Practical Training programs. These individuals may still apply for initial and renewal visas at US consular posts around the world.

The World Health Organization recently recommended an evidence-based approach to the coronavirus, saying that past outbreaks have shown the most focused and effective policies in preventing disease transmission are targeting direct flights from affected areas and disseminating risk communication messages to travelers. While discussing best practices for medical screenings at entry, WHO’s latest update says that even temperature screenings have not been proven effective in past outbreaks and specifically advises against any country imposing a wholesale restriction or ban against international traffic.

If your employees are stranded or have been evacuated or redirected abroad as a result of the coronavirus or the US Travel Ban against China travelers, we can advise and assist with visa extensions, entry visas, and temporary work visas in other countries until they are able to return to their home bases.