August 7, 2020
COVID-19: An Impact on Travel
by Orsolya Hamar-Hilt, Bloomfield & Kempf
Those who celebrated New Year’s Eve and uncorked the champagne bottle at midnight would have never imagined 2020 would be such a burden on all of us. Travelling is one of the businesses that has been impacted tremendously by the virus. Countries are protecting their own citizens and trying to reduce the spread of infection, implementing several travel restrictions. The United States issued its own restrictions, and travelers across the globe were impacted.
Proclamation 9994, on March 13, suspended and limited the entry of immigrants in certain jurisdictions including People’s Republic of China (excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau), the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe) and the Republic of Ireland.
The proclamation does not apply to the following categories of people:
- any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
- a spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
- a parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21;
- a sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21;
Proclamation 10014, issued in April, applied to any individual who at the time of this Proclamation was outside of the USA and did not already have a valid nonimmigrant visa. Suspension and limitation of entry were issued to the following visa categories:
- an H-1B or H-2B visa, and any nonimmigrant accompanying or following to join them;
- a J visa, to the extent the nonimmigrant is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher program, and anyone accompanying or following to join them;
- an L visa, and anyone accompanying or following to join them.
Due to cancellations of visa interviews, both employment- and family-based, many intended immigrants and nonimmigrants were unable to travel to the U.S. This caused hardship to employers who already filed a Petition on behalf of their potential employees and had the petition approved, as the visa interview could not take place. The matter is complicated, because no new work visas are being issued at this time. Unless one already has an approved visa, no one is able to travel to the U.S. As of July 26, the U.S. Embassies reopened and scheduling certain routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa interviews. For detailed information about visa interviews, and how they may impact any of your business’ employees or interns, refer to the U.S. Embassy’s website in the given country.