Paywall free


Coronavirus: What you need to know about Trump’s Europe travel ban

US President Donald Trump has announced a travel ban from most European countries in response to the coronavirus spread.

Coronavirus: What you need to know about Trump's Europe travel ban
Donald Trump announces his Europe travel ban. AFP

The ban, which does not include the UK or Ireland, will begin at 11.59pm on Friday, March 13th and last for 30 days. It will include all countries in Europe's Schengen area.

That means all foreign nationals, unless they are exempt from the ban (see below) won't be allowed to board planes for the US from Schengen countries while the ban is in place.

The restrictions do not apply to permanent residents in the US who need to get home to the US or their close family members, although it is possible that airlines may cancel flights in the days ahead as passenger numbers fall.

The countries in the Schengen area are: 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.

Trump blamed EU countries for not acting quickly enough to stem the spread of the “foreign virus”. The president had previously banned travel from China when the virus was spreading rapidly through the country.

“The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hotspots. As a result a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travellers from Europe.”

At least 1,257 people in 44 states and Washington, DC have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the latest figures from the New York Times database. At least 37 patients with the virus have died.

In Europe the number of cases has passed the 22,000 mark with 930 deaths.

Trump said: “In total, as of March 9th, 2020, the Schengen Area has exported 201 COVID-19 cases to 53 countries. Moreover, the free flow of people between the Schengen Area countries makes the task of managing the spread of the virus difficult.”

What we know about who is affected by the ban and who isn't

It affects most foreign nationals who have been in Schengen area countries for 14 days before the ban comes into place at 11.59pm Friday March 13th.

It won't affect flights that depart before then but are due to land in the US after that time.

“I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States,” reads the full text of the restrictions.

The restriction doesn't apply to travel from the UK or Ireland, but it was unclear how US authorities plan to deal with foreign nationals travelling from Europe to the US via those countries.

Permanent residents of the US are not affected by the ban as are certain family members such as their children. Children of US nationals or permanent residents will also be allowed entry.

Legal spouses of US citizens or permanent residents are also not affected as are parents of US citizens or permanent residents as long as their children are unmarried and under the age of 21.

Siblings of US citizens or permanent residents are also exempt, “provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21.”

Other exceptions are made for foreign nationals including crew members on planes or boats, UN or Nato employees and those travelling on the invitation of the US government.

It also exempts “any alien whose entry would not pose a significant risk of introducing, transmitting, or spreading the virus, as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services”.

The US Department of Homeland Security has said that further guidance on the travel suspension will come within the next two days.

The declaration warns that: “An alien who circumvents the application of this proclamation through fraud, willful misrepresentation of a material fact, or illegal entry shall be a priority for removal by the Department of Homeland Security.

How has Europe reacted?

So far reaction to Trump's ban has been muted but that may change throughout the day.

President of the European Council Charles Michel tweeted “we will assess the situation today.”

“Economic disruption must be avoided. Europe is taking all necessary measures to contain the spread of the COVID19 virus, limit the number of affected people and support research.”

The World Health Organisation has previously advised against closing borders and banning international travel.


Member comments

  1. The restriction doesn’t apply to travel from the UK, but it was unclear how US authorities plan to deal with foreign nationals travelling from Europe to the US via the UK. EXACTLY.
    Can we spell IRRESPONBIBLE?

  2. You need to have your passport associated to your ticket days in advance of your flight to USA. When we flew back to the USA from Sweden we went from Stockholm to Denmark, thru Danish passport kontrol then to the USA so the passport had multiple stamps plus RFID so they’d know when you board the plane with final destination to USA where you came from and would probably exclude you from boarding. In the airport you were screened and kept in a separate area so they knew who was cleared to go to the USA (and this was 2016 in Copenhagen). I would not call myself a big supporter of the president, but if everyone gets sick at once, health care will be overwhelmed. We are all going to get this eventually most likely, but by delaying transfer it’ll spread out the cases.

    I can remember days when one kid got chicken pox other parents sent their kid over so they’d get it too, this isn’t like that. You don’t want this and shouldn’t circulate it.

  3. So, apparently, the Virus was introduced to America by Foreigners visiting the USA? He must mean that, as U.S. Citizens can still fly Home from the E.U.
    I wonder what would have been his reaction if the E.U. had at the get-go stopped flights to the U.S.A. so therfore stopping any US Citizens flying Home!

  4. The US citizens or permanent residents won’t Carry or spread the virus, how does Trump know this? It’s important to come home and be with families but being safe is the most important. So why ban only Schengen Zone residents?

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


The new health and property tax deductions in Spain’s Valencia region

Valencia's regional government has announced tax cuts that could give millions of Valencians rebates on property purchases as well as mental health, dental and sports activity costs.

The new health and property tax deductions in Spain's Valencia region

During the regional election campaign in Valencia in May, Spain’s right-wing Partido Popular (PP) government campaigned, partly at least, on tax cut commitments.

Now the PP President of the Generalitat, Carlos Mazón, has announced a raft of “tax relief” measures for millions of Valencian residents that focus on rebates for property purchases, dental and optician’s expenses, mental health treatment and sports and exercise costs.

This builds on the PP election pledges, and comes after its abolition of Inheritance and Gift Tax in the region.

Mazón, along with regional Minister of Finance, Ruth Merino, will incorporate the further tax cuts into the region’s 2024 Budget. The relief package is based on two main branches of fiscal reform: firstly, deductions in Income Tax (IRPF as it is known in Spain) and, secondly, by applying a new reduced rate for the Property Transfer Tax.

The regional president has been keen to signal a new direction in tax policy in the Valencian Community. “The change has begun and this change is being carried out,” Mazón said when outlining the new measures to the press. The tax cuts will, according to Generalitat estimates, have a fiscal impact of €200 million.

READ ALSO: Why many people in Alicante feel cheated by the Spanish State

Of the cuts, 180 of the estimated €200 million will come from income tax cuts. For IRPF, the PP led regional government has proposed a series of deductions in seven key areas of income tax for individual declarations of income up to €32,000 and joint income declarations of up to €48,000.

In total, Mazón pointed out that taken along with the abolition of Inheritance and Gift Tax, the regional government has made total tax cuts of €365 million: the almost €200 million in deductions and slashing of property taxes, in addition to the previous €166 million in Inheritance and Gift Tax, a measure yet to be approved by the regional executive.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to pay less Spanish IBI property tax

“It is aimed at those who need it most, at the lowest income brackets”, Mazón said, pointing out that more than two million taxpayers will be eligible for rebates, “almost nine out of every ten” in his words. It should be noted, however, that these proposals in the draft bill are still subject to debate in the Valencian regional Cortes, and Mazón stressed that they present a “draft bill as a proposal open to dialogue” with proposals that can “enrich the text”.

The deductions will also be applied retroactively from 1 January 2023 for the next income tax return and will be cumulative, that is to say, deductions for sporting activities can be added to those for oral health expenses, for example.

Property tax cuts

A main pillar of the reforms focuses on property taxes, especially for young people, and cuts the property transfer tax (Impuesto de Transmisiones Patrimoniales, ITP).

Mazón has announced a “super-reduced ITP rate” of 6 percent, lowering it from the current 8 percent for all young people under 35 years of age who buy a home of up to €180,000. This measure is expected to benefit some 15,000 young people and have an impact of €14.7 million.

READ ALSO: Where are the best and worst places for inheritance tax in Spain?

“The priority is for those who earn the least, those who are currently under the most tax pressure,” Mazón said, adding that the government hopes that tax cut measures will provide incentives for young people to get on the property ladder. In addition, there is also a reduction on this rate for purchases of a main residence that is social housing when the price of the property is below €180,000. 

The super-reduced rate will also apply to large families, women victims of gender violence or people with disabilities wanting to purchase property up to €180,000, who will see their rate reduced from 4 percent to 3 percent on property purchases.

Health deductions

The new rafts of tax cuts also introduce a series of rebates on health expenses.

These deductions will be 30 percent for dental health expenses up to €150, 30 percent up to €100 for optical expenses, 30 percent up to €150 for mental health treatment and support expenses, and 30 percent up to €150 expenses associated with sports.

In the case of sports costs, Mazón gave examples of club and federation fees, expenses and gym membership costs.

This builds on tax deductions of up to €100 for families with someone suffering a chronic illness, which is extended to €150 if it is a large or single-parent family, and deductions of up to €100 for expenses generated by family members with Alzheimer’s disease or brain damage, again extended up to €150 if it is a large or single-parent family.

READ ALSO: Alicante vs Valencia – Which one is better to live in Spain?