This update particularly affects people that were issued visas in the latter months of DV2021 and have not yet activated their status by travelling to the USA.
There is a new variant of the Coronavirus that appears to be a concern in terms of its infectivity. The Whitehouse have announced they are about to impose some travel restrictions to people in Southern Africa. We don’t know the precise details yet, but it will affect people from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. Does not apply to US citizens and permanent residents. However, if you have a DV visa and have not yet activated your status (by entering the USA) you are not yet a permanent resident – so depending on how the rules are written, you may not be able to enter for some period of time. Watch out for the publishing of more information in the coming days.
Now, for people in other countries, you may feel you are unaffected. Well OK – but if the new variant spreads, additional countries could get added to the list and we may even see wider scope bans.
So – if you are sitting on a DV2021 visa and have not yet activated, you may want to consider making travel plans for a short term trip to the USA to make sure you are unaffected by any additional bans that may come. It is NOT clear that you could get your visa renewed, so do not rely on that as a strategy.
***Update: Evening of November 26 ***
The Whitehouse has now published the proclamation. It is as described above and begins on November 29. For people that have been in the affected countries, it is possible to enter the USA after a 14 day period of being in a non affected country.