This community wiki explains the current restrictions by the United States of America on the entry of individuals who may pose a risk of transmission of the Novel Coronavirus discovered recently in Wuhan City, Hubei, People's Republic of China.
This answer currently lists nationwide entry restrictions imposed by the United States federal (national) government. A majority of states as well as counties, municipalities, towns, and cities have imposed entry bans or automatic quarantine-upon-entry orders as well as stay-at-home orders that may prevent your intended travel. This answer cannot index all of these orders, which have slight differences, technicalities, and effective dates that must be consulted to determine if your planned travel activity is allowed under state and local law. NBC News provides a basic overview as of April 5, 2020. Additionally, travelers should be aware that their home countries consulates in the US may not be operating normally.
Under the new rules, all flights carrying at least one non-crew passenger that has been physically present anywhere in mainland China, Iran, the Schengen Area, the Common Travel Area (UK/Ireland), or Brazil within the past 14 days must land at one of the following airports:
- JFK - New York, NY
- ORD - Chicago, IL
- SFO - San Francisco, CA
- SEA - Seattle/Tacoma, WA
- HNL - Honolulu, HI
- LAX - Los Angeles, CA
- ATL - Atlanta, GA
- IAD - Washington, DC
The following airports were added February 3, 2020:
- EWR - Newark, NJ
- DFW - Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
- DTW - Detroit, MI
The following airports were added March 14, 2020:
- BOS - Boston, MA
- MIA - Miami, FL
The following airports were added May 27, 2020:
- FLL - Fort Lauderdale, FL
- IAH - Houston, TX
Additionally, such individuals cannot travel to the US at all unless they meet one of these exceptions:
- US citizens and nationals
- lawful permanent residents (green card holders)
- spouses of citizens or LPRs
- parents of unmarried citizens/LPRs under 21
- siblings of citizens/LPRs, both unmarried and under 21
- children, foster children, and adoptees of citizens/LPRs
- air and sea crew members
- diplomats and foreign officials
- those granted exceptions by high-level officials
Upon arrival, such excepted passengers will be subject to public health screenings by US Public Health Service personnel. At a press briefing on Jan. 31, 2020 (transcript), Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced that individuals who have been to Hubei Province in the 14 days preceding entry will be sent to a 14-day quarantine, and individuals who have been to other parts of mainland China in the 14 days preceding entry will self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days at home. This is the first major federal quarantine action since the 1960s.
This action does not affect aliens (immigrants or nonimmigrants) already in the US. It does not cancel or revoke valid visas, though it temporarily prevents their use and may prevent the issuance of new visas in some cases.
Additionally, entering the US through land borders from Canada or Mexico is limited to "essential travel":
- US citizens and permanent residents returning to the US
- Travel for medical purposes
- Travel to attend educational institutions
- Travel to work in the US
- Travel for emergency response and public health purposes
- Lawful cross-border trade
- Official government or diplomatic travel
- US armed forces and their family returning to the US
- Military-related travel
Questions and Answers
Does this include only mainland China, or other territories as well? The 14-day rule does not apply the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau. It does apply to the disputed province of Tibet. It does not apply to Taiwan, the Republic of China, which is claimed by the People's Republic of China but is not functionally a part of that country.
Does this include British territories as well? The proclamation covering the UK excludes "overseas territories outside of Europe". This seems to mean that Gibraltar and the Crown Dependencies are included, but other British territories are excluded.
Do the US-Canada and US-Mexico border restrictions apply to air travel? Not at this time.
When do these restrictions take effect?
- For China: February 2, 2020 at 5:00pm EST
- For Iran: March 2, 2020 at 5:00pm EST
- For the Schengen Area: March 13, 2020 at 11:59pm EDT.
- For the Common Travel Area: March 16, 2020 at 11:59pm EDT.
- Canada/Mexico land border restrictions: March 20, 2020 at 11:59pm EDT.
- For Brazil: May 26, 2020 at 11:59pm EDT.
Where are these regulations found? The Department of Homeland Security has a page on air travel restrictions, a fact sheet, and a list of news and updates. The CDC has a page on procedures for travelers from the affected countries.
The recent extension of restrictions to the Common Travel Area, consisting of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, was announced by US Vice President Pence at a press conference Saturday the 14th. Official regulations have yet to be promulgated.
Regulations on flights arriving in the US needing to be redirected to certain airports, published in the Federal Register:
- For China: this document, with additional airports provided in this document
- For Iran: this document
- For the Schengen Area: this document with additional airports
- For the UK and Ireland: this document
- For Brazil: this document with additional airports
The Presidential Proclamations banning entry of certain sub-classes of these individuals:
- For China: Proclamation 9984
- For Iran: Proclamation 9992
- For the Schengen Area: Proclamation 9993
- For the UK and Ireland: Proclamation 9996
- For Brazil: Proclamation 10041, as amended by Proclamation 10042
- For US-Canada land border: this document, as extended by this document, this document, and this document
- For US-Mexico land border: this document, as extended by this document, this document, and this document
How long will these restrictions last? The restrictions will remain in effect until further notice from the government. With respect to the entry ban specifically, the Secretary of Health and Human Services is to advise the President at least every 15 days whether or not the ban should be changed or cancelled. The land border restrictions last until July 21, 2020, 11:59pm EDT.
Who made this decision, why, and what is there authority to do so? The Secretary of Homeland Security made the decision to impose new travel restrictions. The Secretary has the legal authority to designate the places at which flights inbound to the US may land for inspection. The Secretary decided that this measure was necessary to prevent serious harm to the national security.
The President has the authority to suspend the entry of aliens into the US as needed for national security. President Trump found that the federal government is incapable of monitoring all of the 14,000 daily travels between China and the US. Therefore, this rule is needed to protect the public health and safety of America.
The CDC has authority to enact quarantines under the Public Health Service Act.
What if I do not comply with these rules? If you lie to officials about your presence in China to avoid the regulations, you could face serious immigration consequences including expedited removal from the country and a permanent inadmissibility in the future. If you attempt to escape quarantine, the government may use lawful force to prevent you from doing so.