On Nov. 26, 2021, the White House announced that due to the increased risk of reinfection with the Omicron coronavirus variant, it is implementing travel restrictions by suspending entry to the United States of foreign nationals who have been physically present in the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Malawi, the Republic of Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Zimbabwe in the 14 days prior to seeking entry. The travel ban became effective at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Nov. 29, 2021.

Among those exempt from the travel suspensions are:

  • Lawful permanent residents (i.e., green card holders) of the United States
  • Foreign nationals who are spouses of U.S. citizens or green card holders
  • Foreign nationals who are the parents or legal guardians of a U.S. citizen or green card holder, provided that the U.S. citizen or green card holder is unmarried and under the age of 21

A full list of the exemptions can be found in the proclamation at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/11/26/a-proclamation-on-suspension-of-entry-as-immigrants-and-nonimmigrants-of-certain-additional-persons-who-pose-a-risk-of-transmitting-coronavirus-disease-2019/.

We note that the U.S. State Department has previously interpreted travel bans to also be a ban on visa issuance in the affected country.