Starting today, November 29th, the U.S. government will impose new travel restrictions on foreign nationals arriving from South Africa and seven other southern African countries due to the new Omicron variant.


The new travel restriction bars most foreign nationals from entry into the U.S. if they have been physically present in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, or Zimbabwe in the 14 days preceding U.S. entry.

Who is Affected?  

The travel restrictions, which are outlined in a  White House proclamation, apply to both immigrant and nonimmigrant foreign nationals. The restrictions apply to most individuals with recent travel to southern Africa seeking entry into the U.S. by air. 

As with previous COVID-19 travel restrictions, there are some exemptions. U.S. citizens and permanent residents, in addition to their spouses and minor children or siblings, are allowed to enter the U.S. while this proclamation remains in effect.

Other select individuals are also exempt from the travel restrictions, including noncitizens of the U.S. whose entry is considered in the national interest, individuals who have been invited to the U.S. to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, air and sea crew, and a few other select categories.

A previous proclamation indicating vaccination status would apply for U.S. entries is no longer applicable to recent travel from the specific eight southern African countries.

Looking Ahead  

The State Department is responsible for implementing the presidential proclamation. The proclamation will remain in effect until the U.S. government ends its enforcement. Updates will be provided as available.

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