Here's What You Need to Know About the U.S.'s 30-Day Europe Travel Ban

Travelers at Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport after the travel ban was announced. | BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/ Getty Images
Travelers at Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport after the travel ban was announced. | BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/ Getty Images
The global spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, is causing significant changes to the way we travel. Be sure to read up on the latest information and travel recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). And if you're concerned about flying in the coming weeks, airlines are rolling out relaxed policies so you can change your plans.

When President Donald Trump announced a 30-day travel ban from European nations during an Oval Office address on Wednesday night, the move was met with confusion among travelers across the globe. It was only after the president's speech that federal officials provided details on how the travel ban actually works. Here's what we know so far.

The new travel restrictions come in response to the spread of COVID-19, or the new coronavirus, in many European countries in an effort to reduce the number of infections coming to the United States. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced it now considers the outbreak as a global pandemic just hours before Trump announced the ban. 

While Trump's remarks made it sound as though all travel and trade coming from Europe would be prohibited, that's not actually the case. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) clarified those comments, noting that it's much more limited than that.  

Here are the answers to some of the most pressing questions in response to the President Trump's announcement:

Who does the Europe travel ban apply to?

The travel ban does not apply to Americans. The DHS said it will suspend entry to the US from "most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival in the United States." 

Not only does the ban not apply to "legal permanent residents" but it also doesn't apply to most "immediate family members of US citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation."

All said, if you're an American in Europe, the travel ban does not apply to you. 

Which countries are included in the travel ban?

Those countries include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, according to the DHS. To be clear, this list is in addition to earlier restrictions placed on travelers going through China or Iran.

Trump said the United Kingdom and Ireland are exempt from the travel ban. 

When does the travel ban start?

The travel ban from European nations will begin on Friday, March 13, and run for 30 days. That could be extended before the ban lifts, but if it's not, the travel ban will end on April 11.

Am I able to travel to Europe?

There are many reasons why you may not want to, but it's still possible to travel to many parts of Europe. As of March 12, airlines are still running flights to the majority of Europe.

If I travel to Europe, can I come back?

Yes, but the situation is murky and could change.

As Chad F. Wolf, acting secretary of the DHS, said in the announcement, "In the next 48 hours, in the interest of public health, I intend to issue a supplemental Notice of Arrivals Restriction requiring US passengers that have been in the Schengen Area to travel through select airports where the US Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures."

The Schengen Area, in case you're wondering, is composed of the 26 European nations listed above.

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.