According to multiple sources, the United States government is considering travel restrictions on passengers coming from Europe. These restrictions will likely come directly from the President via his authority granted under Section 212(f) of Immigration and Nationality Act.
Section 212(f) provides the President with sweeping power to suspend the entry of or place restrictions on the entry of immigrants and nonimmigrants for whatever period he or she deems necessary, provided that the President determines that such entry would be detrimental to U.S. interests.
It’s not clear exactly how these restrictions would work out but it could be similar to the restrictions that were enforced for travelers from China.
If you are currently in Europe or have plans to travel to Europe and return to the United States, you should pay close attention to any announcements that will come out either tonight when the President speaks or in the next couple of days since it sounds like they will be moving swiftly with these potential restrictions.
At this point, I think the biggest worries for many are not the health concerns about getting the disease (which can be severe) but the logistical nightmares that might happen if you are in a location that has travel restrictions back to the US.
I’m not sure what the restrictions could entail but I’m thinking you could be subject to additional screening, quarantine, or perhaps even denied admission into the country for a short time if things got bad enough or if you are sick.
Also, the U.S. State Department will likely raise the travel advisory for most or all of Europe to “Level 3: Reconsider Travel.” You can read more about how travel advisories work here.
So plan your upcoming travels over the next month very carefully.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC.