US is looking to lift its travel ban on Schengen passport holders soon

Some have openly ignored the restrictions, while others have opted to bar entry to travelers solely based on their citizenship, rather than where they’ve arrived from. Entry is also approved exceptions for some European business travelers, investors, academics, students and journalists. More than 12.5 million people in the US have now been infected by the coronavirus, and more than 259,000 people have died from COVID-19. The White House, the Department of Homeland Security and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have not, however, commented on the matter. In mid-March, the entry ban was extended to included 26 Schengen countries, a measure that deeply angered most of Europe’s heads-of-state as well as the EU’s decision-makers in Brussels. Administration officials who have said that the travel measure no longer serves any purpose as most other countries around the world are not subject to the entry ban. The plan has won the backing of the White House coronavirus task-force members, public health and other federal agencies, those briefed on the matter said. The Trump administration first issued travel restrictions on anyone coming from China, which were imposed on January 31. This is largely due to the fact that some of the 26 Schengen members, along with other associated countries, have interpreted the ban differently. Since the original round of restrictions were announced, the outbreak in the United States has spiraled out of control. The United States is in the middle of a third surge, recorded an all-time high in daily new cases. The US has seen a surge of coronavirus COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. EPA-EFE//MICHAEL REYNOLDS

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The White House is considering ending its entry ban on non-US travellers entering the country from certain countries, including the 26 European countries of the borderless Schengen Zone, as well as the UK, Ireland and Brazil, according to several officials. The US has spent months as the country with the most virus cases and deaths in the world. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended against travel during the Thanksgiving Day period, which is typically the busiest travel time of the year. The latter has been widely criticized for being blatantly discriminatory policy by some of the EU’s members as it appears not to be aimed at following epidemiological guidelines but is instead a politically motivated retaliatory measure that is directed at singling out American citizens, regardless of their point of departure. The ban, imposed by the outgoing Trump administration to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, will remain in place for most non-US citizens who have recently been to China or Iran. Lifting the ban could boost US airlines, which have come under extreme financial hardship amid the 70% decline of international travel since the pandemic began in March. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>US is looking to lift its travel ban on Schengen passport holders soon

By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe

epa08839474 Travelers walk through a terminal at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, USA, 24 November 2020. EPA-EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Travelers walk through a terminal at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia. That said, the State Department has been granting some “national interest exceptions” to allow travelers from Europe to cross the border if their purpose of travel is related to “humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security”. For his part, as a lame-duck president, Trump has not yet indicated whether he supports the lifting of the ban and, as of yet, there is no clear date for when an easing might take place. The European restrictions have, however, been implemented in a scattershot manner and with a typically Brussels-esque ambiguity that has left most travelers confused about the regulations. Not long after the Americans put their ban in place, much of Europe likewise restricted entry from those traveling from the US. In May, the US’ entry-ban list was again amended to also include Brazil. For the US, their restrictions currently bar entry of most non-American residents who have been in countries that appear on the no-entry list in the previous 14 days.