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Update on U.S. Visas and Immigration

So far in 2020 we have seen a slew of proclamations from the President restricting legal travel and immigration to the United States. Here is a quick summary of where we are now (current as of 30 June 2020). This is not an exhaustive list, but includes the most widely relevant restrictions.

There are exceptions to each of these bans, such as for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or for other national interest concerns. Please see the link to the proclamations for full details of exceptions and consult with immigration counsel to see how those exceptions are being interpreted.

Here are a few common questions we are receiving, along with our answers. Note that this is not meant to be a substitute for fact-specific immigration advice.

Question: I need to travel to the U.S.A. for business. What can I do?

Answer: Travel as a visitor on ESTA is still a possibility, but if you are departing from the U.K. or another listed country, you will need to first travel to a third country (not subject to the ban) and wait 14 days before traveling on to the United States.

Question: I already have a valid visa for the U.S.A. Do these bans apply to me?

Answer: Only ban #1 applies, which can be overcome by going through a third country (with 14-day layover).

Question: Are E-2 visas still available?

Answer: Yes, but the U.S. Embassy in London as well as other posts around the world are still closed for routine visa processing, so it is not yet possible to make an application for a new visa.

Question: If I’m able to get into the U.S.A., is there anything else I need to think about?

Answer: There are varying rules in states and localities for wearing masks, and in some locations, there are quarantines imposed depending on your place of departure. For example, New York and New Jersey are imposing quarantines on travellers coming from Florida. In addition, don’t forget that the United Kingdom (among other countries) imposes a 14-day quarantine on travellers returning from abroad.

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