** LEGAL UPDATE **
In response to public health concerns, namely fears of a pandemic as the coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads and its death toll rises, Trump has issued a proclamation temporarily suspending the entry of some foreign-born persons seeking entry to the United States on immigrant or nonimmigrant (temporary) visas or other forms of entry. Specifically, it bars non-U.S. citizens and non-U.S. permanent residents who have been physically present in the People's Republic of China during the 14 days before arriving here.
In addition, the proclamation imposes a 14-day quarantine on U.S. citizens who visited the Hubei Province of China within the 14 days prior to their returning to the United States. Why weren't lawful permanent residents and others mentioned? Many lawyers believe that was a mistake in drafting, and that in actuality, anyone allowed to come to the U.S. can expect the possibility of being quarantined.
Hong Kong and Macau do not count as China for purposes of this proclamation.
Not all travelers are affected. The following categories are exempt from the ban (though not necessarily the quarantine):
The proclamation does not affect eligibility for asylum, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.
Anyone else, however, will be stopped from boarding a plane to the United States.
Travelers who should be quarantined can be stopped from boarding planes to the U.S., or might have to enter quarantine upon arriving.
In supplemental instructions, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) explained that all flights to the U.S. carrying people who have been in China have been directed to one of 11 designated airports across the United States. There, health protocols are in place to process travelers who might have come into contact with the coronavirus. Some will be kept in quarantine on arrival.
A U.S. citizen who has been in China's Hubei Province during the 14 days prior to entry will have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine, including health care and observation. (Fourteen days is the virus's known incubation period.)
Returning U.S. citizens who were present in other parts of China will be subject to monitoring at certain points of entry. They might be required to implement self-quarantine measures at home.
The U.S. embassy and all consulates in China will be closed starting February 3, offering no visa or other services other than to U.S. citizens needing emergency help.
Effective Date: February 2, 2020