HomeTravel LawAre Travel Bans Legal?

Are Travel Bans Legal?

Yes, travel bans are legal. Travel bans have been used in the US and internationally for quite some time. While they may spark controversy and debates over civil liberties, they are an established tool in a government’s arsenal for various reasons.

What Is a Travel Ban?

A travel ban is a governmental mandate (e.g., a court order or Presidential executive order) that prevents an individual or group of individuals from entering or leaving a country. Travel bans can be temporary or permanent, and they are implemented for multiple purposes.

What Is the Right To Travel?

The interpretation of the US Constitution that allows individuals to travel to different states within the US is the right to travel. The right to travel is an extensive and critical liberty inherent to citizenship within a vast federal union.

What Is Interstate Travel?

A person’s ability to travel from one state to another state within the US is interstate travel. The right to travel encapsulates three rights:

  • The first right allows a citizen to move freely between different states.
  • The second right bestows upon a citizen of one state who is temporarily in another state the “Privileges and Immunities” of a citizen of the host state
  • The third right guarantees that a newcomer to a state who establishes their citizenship there is entitled to the identical rights and benefits as all other citizens of that state.

Is the Right To Travel in the Constitution?

Yes, in the 14th Amendment and 5th Amendment is the right to travel in the Constitution. The 14th Amendment states:

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Under the 5th Amendment, “The right to travel is a part of the “liberty” of which a citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law. The Supreme Court has recognized that the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause protects an individual citizen’s right to travel abroad from arbitrary and indiscriminate government restrictions.”

What Are Some Examples of Travel Bans?

Despite the constitutional right to travel, there have been several instances in which the government has implemented travel bans. One notable example of when a travel ban may be used is for public health, to limit the spread of a virus or disease. Another reason could be national security as a counterterrorism measure, preventing individuals with ties to terrorist organizations from entering the country.


Travel bans are indeed legal instruments used by governments for a range of purposes. The legality of a particular travel ban may be subject to judicial review, as the courts ensure that any limitations on this right align with the Constitution. It is essential to strike a balance between individual liberties and the government’s duty to protect the safety and security of its citizens.

Geremy Johnson
Geremy Johnsonhttps://www.geremyjohnson.com/
Geremy is a lawyer based in the United States focused on global development pertaining to privacy and compliance, capacity-building through partnerships and trainings, and supporting cultural development projects for increased tourism. He began his career as an Assistant District Attorney (ADA) for the City of Philadelphia, later moving on to help global startups and small and medium sized businesses with holistic legal strategies to launch and run operations.

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