Travel ban

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

A travel ban is one of a variety of mobility restrictions imposed by governments. Bans can be universal or selective. The restrictions can be geographic, imposed by either the originating or destination jurisdiction. They can also be based on individual status, such as health or vaccination, or as driving bans during extreme weather events. During the COVID-19 pandemic, governments banned entry by residents of some or all other countries.

For example, if New Zealand decides not to allow travel to the country, the government stops issuing travel visas. Without a valid visa, citizens of other countries cannot enter.[citation needed]

War-related travel bans[edit]

During a war a country can decide to ban travel to a country or numerous ones even if it is a neutral party in that said conflict. One example is that of the United States in 1939 when it banned travel to any country that was at war with the 1939 Neutrality Act in response to the outbreak of World War II in Europe that year despite being a neutral party at the time.[1] Another example from that decade coming from the United States is that of the 1937 Neutrality Act which banned US citizens from travelling on any ship that was owned by or registered to a country that was at war.[2]

Travel bans relating to wars can also be gender-specific as well with one example being when Ukraine in 2022 banned all males aged 18 to 60 from leaving the country because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[3] A travel ban can also be instituted by a supranational union. One example of this is when the European Union banned air travel to Russia in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[4] During the Russian invasion of Ukraine several European countries banned Russians from travelling to their respective countries.[5]

Bans issued due to foreign relations[edit]

A 1952 map from the US Central Intelligence Agency showing areas of the Soviet Union that were banned from being visited by foreigners.

A country can ban travel to certain countries based on their status of foreign relations and/or if they are viewed with hostility by a said country. During the Cold War the United States banned travel by declaring travel invalid to communist countries starting with Yugoslavia in 1947 before expanding to Hungary (1949), Bulgaria (1950), Czechoslovakia (1951) and Albania, Bulgaria, China, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania along with the Soviet Union in 1952 unless it was "specifically endorsed".[6] Countries can also ban travel by certain foreign nationals to specific areas of a said country as done during the Cold War by the United States to nationals of the Soviet Union and vice versa; with the United States restrictions remaining in place from 1955 to 1962.[7] American restrictions on travel to China ended in 1971[8]

With the end of the Cold War, travel became more liberalized. Romania would allow its citizens to travel freely to Western countries in January 1990.[9] Albania during the Cold War was one of Eastern Europe's most isolated countries and American tourists were banned from visiting until June 1990 with the exception of if one had family in Albania.[10]


Due to the spread of COVID-19, many countries restricted international and/or domestic travel.

The United States banned flights coming to the United States from India, beginning on May 4, 2021,[11] with exceptions for U.S. citizens and those with permanent residency cards.[citation needed] During the COVID-19 pandemic the United States closed the US-Mexico border to prevent the spread of COVID-19.[12]

Weather-related bans[edit]

A travel ban can be instituted during an extreme weather event. Local governments can ban driving in an attempt to clear major roadways, as was the case during the Late December 2022 North American winter storm.[13] In some cases they may be enforced by military police.[14]


Many controversies have sprung up about whether governments have the right to do so. In the United States, a lawsuit challenged Executive Order 13769 that banned travel from 7 Muslim majority countries.

List of travel bans[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wilk, Gavin (2021). "Hasty Departures: The Evacuation of American Citizens from Europe at the Outbreak of World War II". Journal of Transnational American Studies. 12 (1) – via eScholarship.
  2. ^ Longley, Robert (July 6, 2022). "US Neutrality Acts of the 1930s and the Lend-Lease Act". ThoughtCo. Retrieved April 24, 2024.
  3. ^ Gilbert, Asha C. (February 25, 2022). "Reports: Ukraine bans all male citizens ages 18 to 60 from leaving the country". USA TODAY. Retrieved April 24, 2024.
  4. ^ Henley, Jon (August 10, 2022). "EU under pressure to ban Russian tourists from Europe". The Guardian. Retrieved April 24, 2024.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g York, Joanna (May 23, 2023). "France 24". France 24 (Digital). Retrieved May 1, 2024. The EU has imposed restrictions on Russians travelling to Europe following the invasion of Ukraine, with some countries – notably Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Poland and the Czech Republic – imposing an outright ban.
  6. ^ Lebovic, Sam (2022). A Righteous Smokescreen: Postwar America and the Politics of Cultural Globalization. University of Chicago Press. p. 148 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ Wolfe, Audra J. (May 15, 2013). "1955 Map Shows No-Go Zones for Soviet Travelers in the U.S." Slate (Digital). Retrieved April 24, 2024.
  8. ^ a b c Lee, Matthew (June 20, 2017). "A look at places US has banned its citizens from visiting". Associated Press (Digital). Retrieved May 1, 2024.
  9. ^ Randal, Jonathan C. (January 3, 1990). "ROMANIA MOVES TO RESTORE RIGHTS OF FREE ASSEMBLY AND TRAVEL". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 24, 2024.
  10. ^ Stavro, Barry (September 23, 1990). "Albania Opens Its Doors". The Los Angeles Times (Digital). Retrieved April 24, 2024.
  11. ^ "U.S. Will Impose New Ban On Travel From India As Coronavirus Rages". Retrieved 2021-05-08.
  12. ^ Hansen, Claire (March 20, 2020). "U.S.-Mexico Border to Close Amid Coronavirus Spread". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved April 24, 2024.
  13. ^ Reporters, Maki Becker and Stephen T. Watson News Staff. "Thruway, I-290, 400, 219 reopen; driving ban continues in Buffalo". Buffalo News. Retrieved 27 December 2022.
  14. ^ "Military police enforce driving ban in snow-stricken Buffalo". AP NEWS. 27 December 2022. Retrieved 28 December 2022.
  15. ^ Vasilogambros, Matt (October 2, 2023). "In scrapping its LGBTQ-related travel ban, California pivots to 'hearts and minds'". Stateline (Digital). Retrieved May 1, 2024.