According to a recent article from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, President Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation that restricts foreigners from entering the United States. Individuals most affected by this suspension are those who have recently visited the Schengen Countries in Europe and planned to visit the U.S.  

Which countries are listed in the new travel suspension?

The new proclamation suspends the entry of foreigners from the 26 Schengen countries.

The Schengen countries in Europe include: 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.

The travel suspension only applies to non-US citizens who have visited one of the Schengen countries before their scheduled arrival to the United States. 

schengen area map

(Source: https://www.etia.com/european-schengen-area-map-and-history)

How long will the Schengen travel restriction last?

President Trump said that restrictions on travel from the Schengen Area will last 30 days, starting on Friday, March 13 at 11:59 PM (ET).

Does this travel restriction prevent U.S. citizens from returning home?

Not at all. If U.S. citizens or their immediate family are traveling internationally, they can return to the United States despite the new travel restrictions. For more information, please review the complete list of exempt individuals regarding the Schengen travel suspension.

I’m a U.S. citizen traveling internationally. Can I return home sooner than planned?

Of course! Most airlines are not charging change or cancellation fees due to the coronavirus. However, rebooking and rescheduling are dependent on the airline’s availability. Check with your airline or travel agent regarding current airfare accommodations, so you can find the best solution for your return.

Can I get a refund on canceled airfare?

Maybe. If the airline cancels or changes your flight schedule, you might be eligible for a refund or voucher, depending on the airline’s policies. However, most non-refundable tickets will remain non-refundable, unless otherwise stated by the airline. Make sure to check with your airline or travel agent to find the best option for your travels.

Will I get quarantined upon my return to the United States?

Only U.S. citizens who have visited a Level 3 territory, as listed by the CDC, within 14 days of their return to the U.S. will get directed to home quarantine.

Will this travel suspension affect international trade between the U.S. and the EU?

No. The Schengen travel restriction will only affect traveling persons–not transported goods or cargo.

COVID-19 is known only to spread through contaminated water droplets, such as the coughs or sneezes of an infected person. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that “the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.”

Thus, trade between the U.S. and the EU will continue, as it should not affect the spreading of the coronavirus.

Additional Facts Regarding the Schengen Travel Suspension

Read more: Coronavirus Facts: How to Ease Your Travelers’ Greatest Fears