May 25, 2020

Immediate Coronavirus-Related Travel Ban: U.S. Halts All Travel From Europe

President Trump has announced the unprecedented step of suspending travel from Europe for 30 days beginning at 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, March 13, for non-U.S. citizens. Although his initial announcement referenced a suspension of trade in goods as well, a subsequent tweet and guidance from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appeared to backtrack and limit the measures to immigration.

The U.K. and Ireland are specifically exempted from this 30-day travel suspension, and mandatory quarantines for any exempt individuals remain a very distinct possibility.

Shortly after the president’s speech, the DHS clarified that the 30-day restriction does not apply to U.S. legal permanent residents (green card holders) and U.S. citizens. The DHS also indicated that the travel suspension would not apply to most immediate family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The restriction also allows for the admission of other individuals where it is in the national interest to do so. Nevertheless, mandatory quarantines for these exempt individuals remain a very distinct possibility.

At this point, it appears that the travel restrictions will primarily apply to visitors from the Schengen Area in Europe, which is a region of 26 countries that have suspended internal borders pursuant to the EU implementing agreements and includes countries such as France, Germany, Italy and Spain that send thousands of business travelers and tourists to the U.S. every year. In addition, the DHS clarified that the suspension would apply to any foreign traveler who has been in one of those countries in the 14 days preceding the intended arrival to the United States.

It is critical to take appropriate action as soon as possible. Citizens of the affected countries who are currently in the U.S. must seek solutions on a case-by-case basis concerning their current visa status, and foreign nationals on the Visa Waiver Program are not legally able to extend their status. 

© 2020 BARNES & THORNBURG LLP

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Tejas Shah Immigration Lawyer Barnes & Thornburg Chicago
Partner

Tejas Shah has the ability to take the complex and confusing nature of immigration law and simplify it for his clients. His goal is to not only help them comply with the multifaceted requirements of U.S. immigration law, but also to ensure that as clients source global talent, they thrive in environments that can be hostile to migration.

As employers increasingly seek to hire and retain talented foreign national employees to maximize competitiveness, Tejas is empathetic to their needs and offers practical immigration law advice. He is committed to guiding employers of all sizes –...

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Mercedes Badia-Tavas Immigration Attorney
Partner

Mercedes Badia-Tavas provides legal and business guidance to clients on a broad range of immigration law cases, with focus on Fortune 500 and small companies alike. Mercedes supports her firm’s offices and clients across various states on immigration employment transfers and up-to-date compliance.

As an immigrant herself, Mercedes finds particular fulfillment in helping companies and individuals immigrate to the United States and participate in the American dream through startups and business transactions that also can benefit the U.S. economy.

Mercedes attributes much of her practice today to her dedication to resourcefulness from years of experience, meticulous preparation and organization skills. This entails a thorough understanding of her client’s industry, operations, culture, practices and financial goals in order to lay out realistic expectations and alternative strategies, as needed. Mercedes believes in being organized in her approach and documentation as a way of helping her clients manage costs. She and her team are committed to employing systems-driven tracking, timely updates and follow-ups with clients, and being pragmatic when unexpected issues arise.

Mercedes advises on a range of employment-based immigration needs, including temporary (nonimmigrant) and permanent (immigrant) visas for executives, managers, investors, professionals, aliens of extraordinary ability, and essential, specialized and skilled workers. She works hand-in-hand with clients on their corporate global mobility policies and compliance documentation regarding sponsoring foreign nationals for employment-based visa classifications. She is regularly involved in I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification (EEV) and H-1B Labor Condition Application compliance.

Mercedes also provides in-house and on-site training on immigration planning for personnel transfers, immigration-related due diligence for mergers and acquisitions, consular applications, and naturalization and citizenship initiatives. She guides clients through internal immigration program administration and monitoring, and trains human resource personnel and other managers on the evolving areas of immigration law and practical integration of immigration policies, procedures and compliance statutes to everyday business operations.

Born in Cuba and bilingual in Spanish and English, Mercedes has sincere compassion for and sensitivity to her clients, keenly aware of the legal land mines and tedious pathways they would navigate through the U.S. immigration system. Whether Mercedes is advising on an immigration matter for an individual relocating from abroad, transferring within the U.S. from another employer, entering the U.S. workforce from student status, looking to build a U.S. business or someone part of a cultural exchange program, she provides her experience with the same strong zeal and commitment toward the best outcome.

Notably, Mercedes has been featured on NPR and Spanish-language broadcasts on immigration topics, many of which included audience call-ins. Prior to joining Barnes & Thornburg, Mercedes had built her own legal practice over nine years as the founding partner of Badia-Tavas Law Group, representing similar categories of clients she now services, with a little more individual and family-type immigration cases involved. She has traveled and lived throughout Latin America.

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Michael Durham Immigration Attorney Barnes & Thornburg
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Michael Durham has been practicing immigration law exclusively for the past 17 years. Michael’s focused experience allows him to guide his clients through the complex and constantly changing labyrinth of immigration laws and regulations.

Michael’s knowledge and understanding of immigration laws and critical insight into the immigration process qualifies him to represent businesses, employers and individuals alike with a wide range of immigration-related needs and services.

He assists employers, including hospitals, colleges and universities, technology companies, religious...

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