Since March of 2020, many intending immigrants and their families have been struggling to navigate the US immigration system in accordance with existing law, complicated by the global persistence of COVID. The previous administration had put in place restrictions on entry into the U.S., both in regards to from where one travels and for what purpose.
The Department of State released a memo on April 8, 2021 easing the restrictions on certain non-immigrant travelers to the U.S. from previously restricted areas. This update refers to the following countries:
- South Africa
- Schengen Area
- United Kingdom
It has been determined that it is in the national interest to allow immigrant and certain non-immigrant visa applicants present in the aforementioned geographic regions to have their applications adjudicated for entry into the U.S. The non-immigrant categories included in the exception are fiancé (K-1), certain exchange visitors (J-1) such as au pairs and specialized teachers among others, and pilots and air crew.
This proclamation allows for a visa application to be considered and issued, but does not guarantee any benefit. An eligibility determination will still be made by an officer at your consular post. Be sure to check with your local consulate for up-to-date information about the rates of processing visas and interview date availability. You may find your embassy by clicking on your specific country on this list: https://www.usembassy.gov/.
In order to enter the U.S., one must still present a negative COVID test taken no more than 3 days before the trip or else a doctor’s note indicating recovery from COVID within the past 90 days. This is in accordance with current CDC recommendations. If you have booked a flight into the U.S., your airline ought to provide information about what they need you to present in order to board the plane. Check your confirmation and the airline website for the most accurate information.
This post is general information, and does not constitute legal advice. If you have more specific concerns about how these changes may affect your immigration case, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. Because many factors vary in each individual’s situation, it is important to review all the facts of a situation before giving any legal advice.