As the holidays approach, Wildes & Weinberg is committed to ensuring that our clients experience as little disturbance to seasonal plans as possible. At the same time, COVID-19 has caused significant disruption at U.S. consulates abroad and at ports of entry across the country, presenting complications and unforeseen challenges to immigrants, non-immigrants, their families, and employers. We provide the following review in order to share important information about the proclamations and advisories that are currently in place. If you, a loved one, or employee is planning travel either outside or into the United States during the next few months, please contact us as soon as possible to review.
Proclamations and Travel Bans: Over the summer, several presidential proclamations were issued that significantly reduced entry into the U.S. At time of writing, the majority of nonimmigrant visa holders in Brazil, China, Iran, the 26 Schengen zone countries in Europe, and the UK and Ireland may not enter the United States within 14 days of their last period of presence (including layovers in countries subject to the ban!). Travelers with valid visa stamps may attempt to spend the 14-day period in a country not subject to the proclamations before booking travel into the United States. In addition, a proclamation halting the issuance of new J, L, H1B, and H2B visas remains in effect. If you have a visa in one of these categories that is going to expire during the holiday period, we strongly advise you refrain from traveling outside the U.S. until the proclamation has expired or is revoked. In some cases, a National Interest Exception to the proclamations may be available. Please schedule an appointment if you would like more information about one of these exceptions or to review travel plans.
Ports of Entry – Entry and Departure: While most travel across the land borders between Canada and Mexico remains restricted, international travelers may still be able to the enter the U.S. through by air if they have been approved for a National Interest Exception, have satisfied the terms of the relevant proclamations, or are traveling from a country not subject to any current travel order. All travelers are advised to keep visas, passports, and approval notices on their person should there be any issues upon entry. In addition, please note that every country has different rules regarding entry. Anyone travelling outside the U.S. should familiarize themselves with any COVID-19 related travel guidance as soon as possible.
U.S. Consulate Operations: Routine services at most consulates abroad have been halted due to COVID-19. While some posts are slowly beginning to resume normal operations, emergency appointments are required for many and can be difficult to obtain. In addition, the holiday period tends to be the busiest for most consulates, so backlogs and long wait times are likely. If you need to schedule an appointment at a consulate in order to obtain a visa, please contact the firm at your earliest convenience so we can advise.
Please note that all travel outside the United States at this time is challenging, and those wishing to re-enter the country may face significant delays due to the abovementioned issues or unexpected developments associated with the pandemic. If you have any questions about any of the above or any other immigration matter, please contact us at email@example.com or call: 212-753-3468.