With our mission to uncomplicate the complicated, we’ve always thought of our work in immigration as people-first. Our goal is for these updates to make sense of the changes happening across the world. Please share these updates with your colleagues who may find this information helpful, too.
The United States
President Biden Introduces Travel Ban for Non-Citizens Coming from South Africa
On Monday, President Biden announced travel ban expansions and extensions to contain new variants of COVID-19. The president reinstated the entry ban for nearly all non-US travelers who have been to Brazil, the UK, Ireland, and 26 countries in Europe within the previous 14 days. Additionally, Biden added South Africa to the list of restricted regions.
Inbound to US Test Requirements Go Into Effect
On January 26, the new CDC rules are to go into effect, requiring travelers to the US from abroad to present a negative COVID-19 test result. The CDC will not grant temporary waivers or exemptions for travelers from regions where testing is not accessible.
The United States joins 120 other countries that also have mandatory COVID-19 testing requirements. The CDC also says that travelers should self-quarantine for seven days upon arrival and then consider retesting within 3-5 days of arrival.
CDC Expands Public Health Measure Requirements
Following the directive from the CDC and from an EO from President Biden last week, masks will be required on all airplanes, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-share vehicles for all travelers two and older. This requirement is set to go into effect in the next few days.
California Eases COVID-19 Restrictions
Governor Gavin Newsom has ended the stay-at-home orders that have been in place since early December. California has become a coronavirus hotspot, but the government says it has now moved beyond the peak.
An overnight curfew from 10 PM to 5 AM for all indoor social gatherings and nonessential activities remains in place for 54 of California’s 58 counties.
Belgium | Effective Wednesday, January 27, 2021, until March 1, 2021, there is a temporary ban on non-essential foreign travel (air, sea, land) to and from Belgium. Travel is permitted only for compelling family needs, humanitarian causes, study purposes, work-related, and residents of border areas.
Additionally, effective Monday, January 25, 2021, a 10-day quarantine is required for people traveling to Belgium from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and South America.
Lastly, all non-residents traveling to Belgium will be required to test upon arrival, in addition to providing a negative test result before departure. If the test result is positive, isolation is required for 10 days (instead of 7).
Bulgaria | Health authorities will require anyone entering the country to take a COVID-19 test in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus and the more contagious variants.
Ireland | The government plans to extend the current shutdown until March 5 and ease restrictions very gradually. The government will introduce travel bans on arrivals from Brazil and South Africa in addition to the current restrictions. A mandatory hotel quarantine will be in place for anyone who arrives from either country and travelers who do not produce a negative test result.
Mexico | The INM authorities have confirmed that Mexico City and State of Mexico offices will remain closed one more week.
Russia | The Russian government has lifted restrictions on entry for citizens and permanent residents of India, Vietnam, Finland, and Qatar.
We will continue to send updates as more COVID-19-related news is available. If you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or in past updates or want to hear more about a different topic, just reply to let us know. If you have specific questions, please contact your employer or EIG attorney.