South African farm workers exempt from travel ban

The US State Department clarified its ban on non-citizens entering the United States from South Africa. A proclamation from the Biden administration suspended travel from several countries due to COVID-19 concerns. The State Department clarified that agricultural workers arriving in the United States are entitled to exemptions from national interests on a case-by-case basis.

The American Farm Bureau Federation sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security David Pekoske earlier this week requesting an exemption for South African agricultural work.

“We appreciate the expedited efforts of the State Department to meet a critical need for American agriculture,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Farm workers from South Africa provide valuable and unique skills to the farms where they are employed. American farmers rely on the H-2A program to provide a robust workforce and we are determined to ensure their safety while continuing to provide healthy, affordable food for families across the country. ”

President Biden’s proclamation allows non-citizens to be exempted from the ban if their arrival is of national interest. Food and agricultural workers have been deemed necessary during the pandemic.

Read the travel exemption here.

Read the AFBF letter here.


Mike Tomko
Communications Director
(202) 406-3642
[email protected]

Bailey Corwine
Specialist for media relations
(202) 406-3643
[email protected]

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