In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S., U.S.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP), working with the U.S. Center

for Disease Control (CDC), designated 15 U.S. airports that

travelers returning to the U.S., who were present in certain

countries that experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases, could enter

in order to undergo COVID-19 health screening. The countries

included the following:

  • The People's Republic of China

    (PRC) (excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong

    and Macau);

  • The Islamic Republic of Iran;
  • The Schengen Area countries of

    Western and Central Europe;

  • The United Kingdom, excluding

    overseas territories outside of Europe;

  • The Republic of Ireland;
  • The Federative Republic of


The purpose of directing flights from these countries to a

limited number of U.S. airports was to focus public health

resources to conduct enhanced COVID-19 health screenings in order

to protect the U.S. population.

Recently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that,

effective September 14, 2020, flights that carry passengers,

present in the above listed countries, are no longer required to

land only at the 15 designated U.S. airports.  Rather,

individuals who are present in these countries may now land at any

U.S. airport for inspection by CBP and the COVID-19 health

screening.  CBP contends that by not restricting entry to the

15 U.S. airports, it will allow public health resources to be more

effective and will stimulate air travel.  CBP indicates that

all other health measures to protect the public health will remain

in place.

Please note that the announcement by CBP and TSA does not

rescind the country-specific COVID-19 health proclamations that

were issued suspending the issuance of U.S. visas and/or entry of

individuals into the U.S., who are present in the above listed

countries, unless the individual is exempt from the proclamations

(Examples:  Green Card holders; Spouses, Children, Parents of

U.S. Citizens or Green Card holders; foreign nationals traveling to

the U.S. at the invitation of the U.S. government for purposes

related to the containment or mitigation of the COVID-19 virus,

etc.), or has obtained a National Interest Exception (NIE) from the

U.S. Department of State prior to boarding a flight to the U.S.

Originally published by Fakhoury Global Immigration,

September 2020

The content of this article is intended to provide a general

guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought

about your specific circumstances.

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