News

U.S. Suspends Entry of Aliens who present a Risk to U.S. Labor Market following Coronavirus Outbreak: On June 22, 2020, President Trump signed a proclamation, suspending the entry of certain nonimmigrants to the U.S.  The proclamation is part of the Trump Administration’s response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • The ban took went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on June 24, 2020 and will be in place through December 31, 2020. 
  • The proclamation extends the existing ban on certain immigrant entries through December 31, 2020.
  • The proclamation does not affect international students and scholars in F-1 and J-1 status and their dependents in F-2 and J-2 status.  It also does not affect Optional Practical Training (OPT) and OPT STEM, which are benefits for students in F-1 status completing an academic degree in the U.S.
  • International students and scholars in F-1 and J-1 status and their dependents in F-2 and J-2 status traveling from a country impacted by the May 24, 2020 Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Novel Coronavirus must continue to comply with the May 24 Presidential Proclamation.  It suspends entry into the U.S. of all non-U.S. citizens who were physically present within the following countries during the 14-day period preceding their entry to the U.S.:
People’s Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau)
Islamic Republic of Iran
European Schengen area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland).  In addiition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City.
United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)
Republic of Ireland
Brazil

 

U.S. Imposes Travel Restrictions on Individuals Traveling from the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland: On March 14, 2020, the White House issued a presidential proclamation imposing travel restrictions on individuals traveling from the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland to the United States due to the current Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

  •  The presidential proclamation temporarily bars the entry of foreign nationals who were physically present in the United Kingdom, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe, or the Republic of Ireland during the 14-day preceding their attempted entry to the U.S.  This includes foreign nationals of any nationality who hold a valid F-1 or F-2, or J-1 or J-2 visa to the U.S. (as well as Canadian citizens who are exempt from the J-1 and J-2 visa requirement)
  • The travel restrictions will go into effect on Monday, March 16, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.  
  • Although President Trump stated that these travel restrictions would be in effect for 30 days, the proclamation states that “it shall remain in effect until terminated by the President,” thus leaving open the possibility that the travel restrictions may be in effect for more than 30 days.

U.S. Imposes Travel Restrictions on Individuals Traveling from the Schengen Area in Europe: On March 11, 2020, the White House issued a presidential proclamation imposing travel restrictions on individuals traveling from the Schengen Area in Europe due to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

  • The presidential proclamation temporarily bars the entry of foreign nationals who were physically present in the Schengen Area during the 14 days preceding their attempted entry to the U.S.  This includes foreign nationals of any nationality who hold a valid F-1 or J-1, or F-2 or J-2 visa to the U.S. (as well as Canadian citizens who are exempt from the F-1/J-1 and F-2/J-2 visa requirement).  The Schengen Area includes the following countries:
    • Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The list does not include the United Kingdom.
  • The travel restrictions will go into effect on Friday, March 13, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.  
  • Although President Trump stated that these travel restrictions would be in effect for 30 days, the proclamation states that “it shall remain in effect until terminated by the President,” thus leaving open the possibility that the travel restrictions may be in effect for more than 30 days.

U.S. Imposes Travel Restrictions on Individuals Traveling from Iran: On February 29, 2020, the White House issued a presidential proclamation imposing travel restrictions on individuals traveling from the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United States due to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

  • The presidential proclamation temporarily bars the entry of foreign nationals who stayed in or visited Iran in the 14 days preceding their attempted entry to the U.S.  This includes foreign nationals of any nationality who hold a valid F-1 or J-1 or F-2 or J-2 visa to the U.S. (as well as Canadian citizens who are exempt from the F-1/ J-1 and F-2/ J-2 visa requirement).
  • The travel restrictions went into effect on Monday, March 2, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST).  At this time, it is not known how long these travel restrictions will be in effect.

South Korea Travel Advisory: On February 26, 2020, The U.S. Department of State published a Travel Advisory that advises to reconsider travel to South Korea due to an outbreak of COVID-19. Click on South Korea Travel Advisory to read the entire advisory.

Italy Travel Advisory: On February 26, 2020, The U.S. Department of State published a Travel Advisory that advises to exercise increased caution in Italy due a recent outbreak of COVID-19. Click on Italy Travel Advisory to read the entire advisory.

China Travel Advisory: On February 2, 2020, The U.S. Department of State published a Travel Advisory that advises against travel to China due to the novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. Travelers should be prepared for the possibility of travel restrictions with little or no advance notice. Most commercial air carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China. To view the complete advisory, please visit China Travel Advisory.

U.S. Imposes Travel Restrictions on Individuals Traveling from China: On January 31, 2020, the White House issued a presidential proclamation imposing travel restrictions on individuals traveling from the People’s Republic of China (PROC) to the United States due to the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus outbreak:

  • The presidential proclamation temporarily bars the entry of foreign nationals who stayed in or visited mainland China in the 14 days preceding their attempted entry to the U.S.  This includes foreign nationals of any nationality who hold a valid F-1/F-2 or J-1/J-2 visa to the U.S. (as well as Canadian citizens who are exempt from the F-1/F-2 and J-1/J-2 visa requirement).
  • The travel restrictions went into effect on Sunday, February 2, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.  At this time, it is not known how long these travel restrictions will be in effect.
  • In light of these travel restrictions, we recommend that you do not visit mainland China as you will otherwise not be permitted to reenter the U.S.

Also, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in China have cancelled visa appointments for the week of February 3, 2020, following the Chinese government’s decision to impose restrictions on large gatherings.  While the U.S. Department of State has indicated that it hopes to resume routine visa services as soon as possible, it is unable to provide an exact date for the resumption of visa services at this time.

 

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban: On June 26, 2018, the United State Supreme Court upheld a presidential proclamation that imposes indefinite travel restrictions on certain nationals of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen, reversing a federal district court’s grant of a preliminary injunction against the restrictions.  For detailed, up-to-date information on the travel ban/entry bar, please visit NAFSA’s Travel Advisory on the Section 2(e) Entry Ban.

 

Chad Removed from List of Travel Ban Countries: Effective April 10, 2018, a Presidential Proclamation removed Chad from the list of countries subject to the country-specific travel ban.  For updated information, please visit NAFSA's Advisory on the Indefinite Entry Bar Under Executive Order.

 

New U.S. Domestic Air Travel ID Requirements Take Effect on January 22, 2018: Beginning January 22, 2018, air travelers in the United States must show identification that complies with the document security requirements of the REAL ID Act. If you use a state-issued driver's license or identification card when traveling domestically: 

  • The state of issuance must meet REAL ID requirements or have received an extension; or
  • You must present an alternative form of identification, such as a valid passport or other acceptable documentation, to board a domestic flight.

To date, most U.S. states have either complied with the REAL ID Act or have received an extension.  This includes the State of Florida which is compliant.

For information on how to obtain a Driver’s License or ID in Florida, go to Obtain a Driver's License.

Is your state driver's license acceptable for air travel?
Before January 22, 2018, check the REAL ID Act compliance status of your state using the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's color-coded map.

  • If your state is compliant, you may use your state-issued identification to board a U.S. domestic flight.
  • If your state was granted an extension, you may use your state-issued ID to board a domestic flight through the specified extension date.
  • If your state is under review, prepare to use a REAL ID-compliant document for air travel beyond
    January 22, 2018. Keep checking the map, however, because DHS could grant your state an extension or deem it compliant before January 22, 2018. 

Other acceptable forms of identification
If your state has not met REAL ID requirements or received an extension, the Transportation Security Administration will accept the following documents, among others:

  • An unexpired U.S. or foreign passport;
  • A DHS trusted traveler card (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST);
  • A USCIS Employment Authorization Document (EAD);
  • A U.S. lawful permanent resident card (green card); or
  • An enhanced driver's license (EDL) (even if your state is not otherwise compliant with REAL ID).

For additional acceptable documents, see the TSA's full list

Looking ahead
By October 1, 2020, all U.S. states will be required to issue REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses and state identification documents. All domestic air travelers will be required to use a REAL ID-compliant document by that deadline.

 

 

Greater Scrutiny for Visa Applicants at U.S. Consular Offices: The U.S. Department of State has ordered U.S. consulates to increase the screening of visa applicants and restrict the number of visa appointments held each day.  Visa officers will conduct more intensive interviews to determine whether visa applicants are eligible for the immigration category they seek and will have more discretion to order additional security checks beyond the regular background checks that all visa applicants undergo. These new processes, and the limits on the number of visa interviews, are likely to cause longer waits for interview appointments, and longer waits for passports with visas to be returned after the interview.  For detailed information on how to apply for an F or J visa and approximate wait times for visa interviews and visa application processing, please visit the U.S. Department of State’s website.

Foreign nationals flagged by a US consular officer for additional security screening will be asked to complete new visa application questions and may be asked to provide the following additional details:

  • Five years of public social media account information, email addresses and phone numbers
  • All prior passport numbers
  • 15 years of residence, employment and travel history (including source of travel funds)
  • The names of all children, siblings and current and former spouses

Though not every visa applicant will be subject to the new questions, foreign nationals may wish to prepare for the possibility that they will be asked to respond. Gathering social media, travel, work and residence history, details of prior passports and the like before a visa appointment can help minimize delays in the event a traveler is asked to provide additional information.  

 

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