Coronavirus Crisis: COVID-19 And The Foreign Professional Athlete


In recent days, many professional sports have had their seasons and events delayed, suspended or cancelled, including the PGA TOUR, the LPGA Tour, Major League Soccer, the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the XFL, among others. NFL teams also have pushed back travel arrangements and cancelled face-to-face meetings with draft prospects, all in an effort deal with the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

For the foreign national athletes and their support staff, these changes to their schedules and itineraries can be worrisome as they can impact their immigration status which is normally tied to a specific itinerary. This article is intended to give these individuals up to date information relating to the impact on their visa status and visa processing procedures. Since these issues are subject to change as the worldwide situation evolves, one should always consult with their legal counsel for the most current information.

GREEN CARD HOLDERS: Currently, the travel ban would not apply to green card holders, their spouses, children or parents. If they go home, they can return (subject to additional testing at airports and potential quarantine based upon that testing). However, as with everything right now, the situation could change and travel by all could be halted.