travel ban south africa vaccinated

Photo: Joe Biden / Twitter / POTUS Account

US lifts travel ban – for a very specific group of South Africans

Thanks to a new exemption within the Biden-imposed travel ban, thousands of South Africans are now allowed to make their way over to the US.

travel ban south africa vaccinated

Photo: Joe Biden / Twitter / POTUS Account

The US State Department has confirmed that it will allow certain South Africans an exemption from its blanket travel ban. At the end of January, the Biden Administration dished out the toughest possible measures for travellers from Mzansi – announcing that no-one from our shores could visit America unless they were a US citizen.

Which South Africans are allowed to travel to the US?

However, just a few days ago, government officials confirmed that a cohort of SA workers would be allowed into the country. Those in possession of the H-2A visa – and certain H-2B travelers – will be granted an exemption to travel and operate in the USA, given that they play an essential role in securing the country’s food chain.

“The H-2 program is essential to the economy and food security of the United States and is a national security priority.  Therefore, we intend to continue processing H-2 applications for individuals who provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain. as permitted by post resources and local government restrictions.”

US State Department

List of SA workers exempt from the travel ban

Last year, about 5 000 workers came from South Africa to help farmers in the early planting season, which starts in February across most Southern states. Those who will have travel ban exemptions this year include:

  • – Seafood processors
  • – Fish cutters
  • – Salmon roe technicians
  • – Farm equipment mechanics
  • – Agriculture equipment operators
  • – Any other farmworkers listed as ‘essential for the food supply chain’ – you can learn more about the list here

Travel ban: South Africans ‘bring unique skills’ to America

Zippy Duvall is the President of the American Farm Bureau Federation. He told the organisation’s website that the skills possessed by these South African specialists are ‘valuable and unique’, lauding the role they play in feeding US residents.

“Farm workers from South Africa bring valuable and unique skills to the farms on which they are employed. America’s farmers rely on the H-2A program to provide a robust workforce and we are committed to ensuring their safety while continuing to provide healthy, affordable food for families across the country.”

Zippy Duvall