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Volume XI, Number 266

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U.S. Immigration and COVID-19-Related Travel Considerations

Due to COVID-19, country and local conditions are changing, and travel information is often confusing. Below is a summary of issues that should be considered when returning to the United States. Individuals should also contact their airline to confirm if there are specific boarding requirements.

  • Country and Local Conditions: Conditions are rapidly changing. Check your local requirements, and your airline’s requirements, prior to travel. Click here for updated, country-specific information.

  • Visa appointments: A visa appointment should be scheduled right away. If a desired date is not available, an emergency appointment can be requested. However, emergency appointments are highly discretionary and are limited to residents applying for a visa in their home country. Appointments may also be cancelled by the consulates with little notice.

  • National Interest Exception (NIE): If granted, an NIE is valid for 30 days from the date of issue for one entry into the United States. An NIE may be requested only from outside of the United States. Most consulates’ processing times are 30-60 days.

  • *Other exempted individuals include, but are not limited to: Noncitizen nationals of the U.S.; noncitizen who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or LPR; any noncitizen who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or LPR, provided that the U.S. citizen or LPR is unmarried and under the age of 21; and any noncitizen who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or LPR, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21. Click here to view a full list.

  • **Information is based on current policies. Immigration and travel policies remain fluid, and COVID-19 restrictions are constantly changing.

 

COVID-19 Test?

National Interest Exception (NIE)?

I am a U.S. Citizen, LPR, or other exempted individual* …

Yes. All air passengers over two years old entering the United States must present to the airline prior to boarding a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three (3) calendar days of departure​, or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days.

No.

I am a foreign national with a valid visa stamp and I-797/I-129S …

Yes. All air passengers over two years old entering the United States must present to the airline prior to boarding a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three (3) calendar days of departure​, or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days.

Yes, if travelling from South Africa, Schengen, the UK, Ireland, Brazil, China, and Iran.

No, if travelling from another jurisdiction other than South Africa, Schengen, the UK, Ireland, Brazil, China, and Iran (unless an exemption applies)

I am a foreign national and do NOT have a valid visa stamp and I-797/I-129S …

Yes. All air passengers over two years old entering the United States must present to the airline prior to boarding a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three (3) calendar days of departure​, or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days.

Yes. You will require an NIE to be able to obtain a visa stamp in your passport. Furthermore, if travelling from South Africa, Schengen, the UK, Ireland, Brazil, China, and Iran, you will also require an NIE to travel to the U.S.

 

©2021 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 42
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About this Author

Anna Morzy Immigration Attorney Greenberg Traurig
Shareholder

Anna H. Morzy has a comprehensive background in providing legal and policy guidance on fast-evolving immigration laws, regulations, and policies, and in the development and execution of complex, industry-tailored mobility programs.

With nearly 20 years of experience in her field, Anna has a deep understanding of immigration law and global mobility and their critical importance to businesses of all sizes and across varying industries. Her practice focuses on providing counsel to start-ups and established companies on the immigration compliance implications of expansions and mergers...

312-456-1026
Katherine M. Rozmus Associate Immigration & Compliance
Associate

Katherine M. Rozmus focuses her practice on a full range of business immigration matters, including nonimmigrant visa categories (B, E, H, J, L, O, TN), permanent residency categories (Extraordinary Ability/Outstanding Researchers, Multinational Managers and Executives, PERM, Adjustment of Status), and naturalization applications.

312-456-1043
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