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Visa Stamping

US to Ban Travel from South Africa and 7 Other Countries Due to Omicron COVID-19 Variant

As part of the United States’ attempts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, President Biden announced the suspension of travel of certain immigrants and nonimmigrants from eight countries due to the omicron variant. The proclamation was effective as of 12:01 EST on November 29, 2021. The eight countries are:

  • Republic of Botswana
  • Kingdom of Eswatini
  • Kingdom of Lesotho
  • Republic of Malawi
  • Republic of Mozambique
  • Republic of Namibia
  • Republic of South Africa
  • Republic of Zimbabwe

As with previous travel bans, any non-exempt person who has spent time in those countries during the 14-days preceding their entry into the US will not be granted admission.  The following categories of people are not subject to the ban and can still be granted admission:

  • Lawful permanent residents of the US
  • Noncitizen nationals of the US
  • Spouses of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Parents or legal guardians of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident that is unmarried and under the age of 21
  • Siblings of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Children, foster children, or wards of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the US pursuant to IR-4 or IH-4 visa classification
  • Those traveling at the invitation of the US government for COVID mitigation purposes
  • Those nonimmigrants seeking entry pursuant to A-1, A-2, C-1, C-2, C-3, E-1 (as an employee of TERCO or TECO or the employee’s immediate family members), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6

Guidance is still forthcoming from the Department of State, and we anticipate that the national interest exemptions that were authorized in previous COVID related travel bans will likely be authorized. As of now, only the above list of countries have been subject to the ban, but this may be expanded as more information comes out on the omicron variant.