Holiday Travel Alert
As the holiday season approaches, KM&M would like to remind all foreign nationals that international travel will be particularly challenging this year as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, embassy closures, and limitations on the issuance of certain immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. As a general matter, foreign nationals are encouraged not to travel internationally this year except for emergencies. Travelers should account for possible complications including:
- COVID-19 travel bans: Currently, travelers who have been physically present in China, Brazil, Iran, the United Kingdom, Ireland or any of the Schengen countries in the 14 days prior to their arrival (even if just for a brief visit or a layover) will not be permitted to enter the United States. It is possible that other countries will be added to this list in the coming weeks and months. Affected travelers must spend at least 14 days in a non-travel ban country, unless they qualify for and are able to obtain a National Interest Exception from a United States embassy or consulate.
- Embassy Closures: US embassies and consulates around the world have begun slowly reopening to varying degrees, but this process could stall or reverse in countries where there is a COVID-19 surge. Many consulates are only processing emergency cases, and emergency appointments are difficult to obtain. If you plan to travel internationally and will need to apply for a new visa while you are abroad, please contact an immigration attorney at KM&M as soon as possible.
- Presidential Proclamations: Presidential Proclamations prohibiting the issuance of certain new immigrant and nonimmigrant (H-1B, H-2B, L, and J) visas remain in effect. For individuals who will need a new visa in one of these categories, and who are not eligible for an exception, we strongly recommend remaining in the United States until these Proclamations have been lifted.
Finally, if you are planning to travel internationally, remember to bring the required immigration documents for a smooth re-entry to the United States. Required documentation varies depending on an individual’s status and circumstances, but may include an original I-797 Approval Notice, a valid visa, an advance parole document, a permanent resident card and/or valid enrollment in the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). All international travelers should carry passports that will be valid for at least six months after entering the United States.
If you have questions about upcoming international travel, please contact an immigration attorney at KM&M.