As of April 9th, 2020, there have been 1,506,936 confirmed cases of Coronavirus ( COVID-19) and 91,783 deaths from the disease worldwide. Americans are being told to stay at home, distance themselves from others, and the CDC (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that people avoid any non-essential travel.
The COVID-19 outbreak has caused numerous travel restrictions to be put into effect not only around the United States but across the globe. If you aren’t aware of the restrictions that are currently plaguing travel, here are some of the most commonly asked questions about travel restrictions due to the Coronavirus.
Can I Travel Domestically?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people avoid any non-essential travel – that includes domestic travel. All 50 states have cases of the Coronavirus which has lead to governors in 43 states ordering non-essential businesses to shut down and for people to stay at home.
It’s suggested that you look into the area you’re considering traveling to and weigh the risks on if it’s safe. If you deem that travel is necessary to the area you’re looking to go, make sure you take precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
What Are International Travel Restrictions?
The U.S. Department of State has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory meaning do not travel. They’ve advised that all U.S. citizens avoid any international travel due to the Coronavirus outbreak, and any U.S. citizens who are abroad should make plans for an immediate return to the United States unless they are prepared to stay abroad for an indefinite amount of time. It was also announced in mid-March that the border between the United States and Mexico and the border between the United States and Canada would be closed for a minimum of 30 days.
U.S. citizens that are allowed to come back into the United States from Ireland, China, Iran, the United Kingdom, and the Schengen area must travel through select airports that have an increased screening process. If you return home from international travel you should stay at home and self-quarantine for 14 days, avoid contact with others, monitor your health and take your temperature multiple times a day, and follow social distancing measures.
Can I Still Apply For a Passport?
Effective March 20, 2020, the government has stated that they are only able to offer in-person service at passport agencies with a qualified life-or-death emergency and who unquestionably need a passport for immediate international travel within 72 hours. Even though you can still apply in person for a passport at some places, there will most likely be significant delays in receiving your passport. Another item to be aware of is that as of March 19, 2020, all expedited passport services have been suspended until further notice.
What is Considered a Life-Or-Death Emergency?
The U.S. Department of State states that life-or-death emergencies are injuries, serious illnesses, or deaths in your immediate family that requires you to travel outside the United States within 72 hours. Immediate family includes a parent, spouse, child, aunt, sibling, uncle, etc.
In order to begin the process of receiving a passport for a life-or-death emergency, you’ll need to provide proof of the life-or-death emergency such as a statement from a mortuary, a signed letter from a medical professional or hospital, or a death certificate. Please note that these documents must be in English or translated to English. You’ll also need a passport application with all supporting documents, as well as proof of international travel that relates to the emergency (plane ticket, reservation, etc).
These are uncertain times that bring on many questions in regards to travel and how to stay healthy. If you have any further questions about travel during the Coronavirus epidemic you can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website and view their frequently asked travel questions and answers here.