Current Global Issues - Travel

UPDATE:  "Short Interviews" with Passengers coming into U.S.

UPDATE 10/26/17:

New security measures could include short security interviews with passengers at check in or at the boarding gate for all U.S. bound flights.  These new measures were put in place to comply with government requirements designed to avoid an in-cabin ban on laptops.  This new measure could affect 325,000 airline passengers on about 2,000 commercial flights arriving daily in the United States, on 180 airlines from 280 airports in 105 countries.  As a result, airlines are encouraging travelers to plan on extra pre-flight time when traveling to the US.

UPDATE 7/1/17:

The US government announced that a partially reinstated Executive Order (EO) which restricts immigration of nationals from six specified countries to the US will go into effect on 29 June at 20.00 (EDT). Unless they have a 'bona fide' relationship with a person or entity in the US, citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen will be barred from applying for visas to travel to the US for 90 days and all refugees will be barred for 120 days. Citizens of the countries mentioned above who already possess valid US visas, those who already hold legal permanent residence in the US (green card) and dual nationals travellng on a passport from a non-restricted country will not be affected.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has lifted its laptop ban on flights from Abu Dhabi after a "successful validation of security measures," according to Etihad Airways. Of the 10 airports affected by the initial onboard electronics ban that began in March, Abu Dhabi is the only one that houses U.S. Customs and Border Protection Preclearance, which allows passengers to clear customs and immigration inspections in Abu Dhabi, before boarding, rather than upon arrival in the U.S. Last week, the DHS announced new security requirements for all airports serving the U.S., saying that those requirements, if followed, override the need for a laptop ban. Expanding the number of Preclearance sites was among the DHS's goals.

UPDATE 6/5/17:

Travelers planning to take flights between Europe and the US should closely monitor developments and prepare for new regulations on electronic devices that may be issued shortly by US authorities. US and European security officials are meeting airline officials to discuss a new directive that could require travelers from some European airports to check in electronic devices larger than a smartphone before boarding US-bound flights. Specific details, including what devices and which airports would be affected, are so far unavailable. However, members should follow all security directives and anticipate possible security delays at affected airports if such regulations are implemented.  Possible locations:  United Kingdom - United States; Germany; France; Spain; Italy; Greece; Ireland; Portugal; Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Malta, Cyprus, Hungary, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia - Lithuania.

INITIAL IMPACT:

Travelers on non-stop flights to the US from the Middle East and North Africa should prepare to comply with new regulations issued by the US authorities, follow all security directives and anticipate possible security delays at affected airports. Passengers traveling on direct flights to the US from ports of departure in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UAE will be required to place any electronic devices larger than a smartphone in checked baggage prior to boarding US-bound flights. However, electronic medical devices and smartphones will be allowed with carry-on luggage.  Among the affected devices are:

  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • IPads
  • Others

It is currently unclear whether airlines may choose to implement the regulation more broadly in an attempt to minimize disruption; consult the relevant carrier prior to setting out for a US-bound flight from or transiting through an affected airport to the US.  The deadline for implementation is 24 March.

For Up-To-Date information regarding Immigration, please see http://global.upenn.edu/immigration-policy-notice.