New COVID-19 Travel Restrictions for the United States

Press Release | January 28, 2021

Effective at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on January 30, 2021, entry into the United States will be suspended for all foreign nationals who were physically present within the Republic of South Africa during the 14-day period preceding their travel to the United States. This Presidential Proclamation is being implemented based on scientific and public health developments with respect to the variants and the continued spread of COVID-19, as advised by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These restrictions are similar to previously issued and still valid travel restrictions covering the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, Brazil, China, and Iran. Consistent with these earlier restrictions, the new proclamation does not apply to U.S. citizens and provides for exceptions, including for lawful permanent residents of the United States. All travelers to the United States, including U.S. citizens, must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test to airlines prior to departure.

The provision of emergency services to U.S. citizens and the health and safety of our staff and consular clients remain paramount. Therefore, the Consular sections of Mission South Africa will suspend regularly scheduled nonimmigrant (NIV) and most immigrant (IV) visa services until further notice to effectively screen only for applicants who may qualify for exceptions. Current visa holders seeking exceptions to travel to the United States and applicants with an urgent need to travel are requested to follow the guidance provided at https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-za/niv to request an emergency appointment, or call +27 87 550 2160, Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 am to 6:00 p.m. local time.

This Presidential Proclamation shall remain in effect until terminated by President Biden. For more information about this Presidential Proclamation and exceptions to it, please visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/25/proclamation-on-the-suspension-of-entry-as-immigrants-and-non-immigrants-of-certain-additional-persons-who-pose-a-risk-of-transmitting-coronavirus-disease/