Jan 26, 2021 COVID-19 Guidance

President Biden Expands Travel Restrictions and Requires Negative COVID Test for International Travelers

On January 25, 2021, President Biden issued a new proclamation imposing travel restrictions on certain individuals who have been physically present in South Africa within 14 days of traveling to the US. Effective January 30, South Africa will join the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Schengen countries, Brazil, Iran and China on the list of countries that are now subject to COVID-19-related travel bans. Several categories of travelers are exempt from the bans, including US citizens and permanent residents; certain immediate family members of US citizens and permanent residents; US armed forces members and their spouses and children; and travelers whose entry is deemed to be in the US national interest. The bans are indefinite but will be reevaluated regularly as the pandemic evolves.

In addition, as of January 26, 2021, the US will require all international travelers to show proof of having received a negative COVID-19 test within three days prior to entering the US. This policy applies to all travelers, regardless of vaccination status. Airlines will refuse to board anyone who does not provide written documentation of their negative test results or proof of having recovered from COVID-19 (such as documentation of a positive test result and a letter from a doctor clearing the passenger for travel).

If you have any questions about upcoming international travel, please contact us.

New Procedure For Extending Green Card Validity

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that starting in January 2021, it will replace the I-551 sticker that is currently issued to permanent residents to extend the validity of their green cards with a revised Form I-797 receipt notice. Generally, permanent residents are issued 10-year green cards and must file a Form I-90 to renew the green card before it expires. Until recently, applicants would file the Form I-90, attend a biometrics appointment, and receive a sticker on their green card as temporary evidence of status. Under the new policy, these applicants will be able to use their receipt notice in conjunction with the expired green card as evidence of identity, employment authorization and travel authorization. Employers can also accept a receipt notice and expired green card as valid List A documents for Form I-9 purposes.