Australia Announces Unprecedented Travel Ban for Citizens and Permanent Residents in the wake of Covid-19

The Australian government has announced on March 25, 2020 that a travel ban has been introduced   which will prevent Australian citizens and permanent residents from departing Australia, except in exceptional circumstances. This is in addition to the recently announced entry bans applicable to any non-Australian citizens or permanent residents who have not been granted prior permission to enter Australia on exceptional circumstance grounds. Continue reading “Australia Announces Unprecedented Travel Ban for Citizens and Permanent Residents in the wake of Covid-19”

Canada Immigration Information on Closure of Land Border with the United States

  • Effective 11:59 p.m. EDT last night, the Canada-U.S. land border closed to all non-essential travel. This closure will initially be in effect for 30 days. Non-essential travel includes travel for tourism or recreational purposes. Trade and commerce will continue. The definition of what constitutes “essential” travel remains open to interpretation. Minister Blair today referred to “essential” as serving and keeping Canadians healthy and safe. If you are concerned as to whether your employees’ upcoming travel would be considered “essential”, please contact us to discuss. Please also refer to 2. below for details about further developments which are expected to become effective next week. The official statement from the Prime Minister’s Office can be found at https://bit.ly/2J0DJiD

Continue reading “Canada Immigration Information on Closure of Land Border with the United States”

USCIS Suspends Premium Processing for all I-129s and I-140s

USCIS announced at 2:19 PM on 3/20/2020 that Premium Processing services for I-129 (E-1, E-2, H-1B, H-2B, H-3, L-1A, L-1B, LZ, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S, Q-1, R-1, TN-1 and TN-2.) and I-140 (EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3) is suspended temporarily.  Like many of us, USCIS service center operations have gone remote, so it is impossible for the agency to keep up with the demand for premium processing of applications. Continue reading “USCIS Suspends Premium Processing for all I-129s and I-140s”

U.S. Expands Entry Ban to Europe’s Schengen Area as Nations Around the World Impose Entry Restrictions

Following the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration that classified the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as a pandemic on March 11, a number of governments have instituted or announced measures limiting international travel. In the most notable of the new restrictions, the United States has announced that it is suspending all travel from Europe’s Schengen Area for 30 days beginning at midnight on Friday, March 13. This measure would expand existing travel restrictions in place for arrivals from mainland China and Iran.

The restrictions do not apply to U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents or their immediate families as well as holders of some categories of U.S. visas (such as A-1, A-2, C-1, D or C-1/D, C-2, C-3, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4 and NATO visas). The Schengen Area is a 26-country group that has officially abolished border control among themselves.

Globally, it is unknown if other governments will follow suit after the announcement from the White House. However, some of the recent and notable measures that have been implemented or announced this week by other countries are as follows:

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

The Impact of Coronavirus on Travel and Entry to the United States

The ongoing worldwide outbreak of the Coronavirus has led to serious public safety concerns, restrictions, and even bans on international travel.  The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the source of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.  The disease outbreak has also led to several measures by the U.S. Government to control the entry to the United States of individuals potentially exposed to the virus.

On January 31, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation suspending and limiting entry into the U.S. as immigrants or nonimmigrants of all individuals who were physically present within the People’s Republic of China, excluding Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry. The proclamation became effective at 5:00 pm (ET) on February 2, 2020.

The proclamation does not apply to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (green card holders).  Foreign diplomats traveling to the United States on A or G visas are excepted from this proclamation.  Other exceptions include certain family members of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, including spouses, children (under the age of 21), parents (provided that the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21), and siblings (provided that both the sibling and the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident are unmarried and under the age of 21).  There is also an exception for crew traveling to the United States on C, D or C1/D visas.

Additionally, US citizens and others who are allowed to travel to the US from China are being admitted through 11 designated airports where US authorities will conduct extra screening and transfer people if needed. All flights from China have go to the following 11 airports – JFK in New York; ORD in Illinois; SFO in California; SEA in Washington; HNL in Hawaii; ATL in Georgia; EWR in New Jersey; DFW in Texas; DTW in Michigan; LAX in California, and IAD in Virginia. At the designated airports, CBP officials will determine 1) whether a traveler is admissible to the US and (2) if someone needs extra screening or quarantine, at which point travelers will be referred to secondary inspection staffed with medical professionals. Passengers who have been to China in the past 14 days and were not already traveling to one of those airports will have to re-book their flights.

It should be noted that any U.S. citizen returning to the United States who has been in Hubei province, China in the previous 14 days may be subject to up to 14 days of quarantine. And any U.S. citizen returning to the United States who has been in the rest of mainland China within the previous 14 days may undergo a health screening and possible self-quarantine. If you choose to travel, it is recommended to  enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive updates. As the situation is changing daily, so are Government policies and restrictions on travel,  so it is advisable to monitor the Travel.state.gov and CDC.gov for important information.