Immigration and travel updates amid COVID-19 pandemic
Mar 23 2020
March 23, 2020
COVID-19: Immigration and Travel Updates
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ISSUED A LEVEL 4 TRAVEL ADVISORY
All international travel is discouraged US Citizens who are currently outside of the United States must return to the U.S. immediately or be prepared to reside outside of the U.S. indefinitely.
US-MEXICO BORDER CLOSURE- IN EFFECT UNTIL APRIL 21, 2020
On March 20, 2020, President Trump (via press conference) announced that the United States – Mexico border will close to all non-essential travel for 30 days.
Effective at 12 a.m., March 21, 2020, the U.S. and Mexico will temporarily restrict all non-essential travel across the U.S.-Mexico land border for 30 days.
Trade and commerce will continue.
Examples of "Essential Travel" include but are not limited to: travel for medical purposes, to attend educational institutions, for emergency response/public health purposes and lawful cross-border trade.
Non-essential travel will be temporarily suspended for 30 days.
US- CANADA BORDER CLOSURE- IN EFFECT UNTIL APRIL 21, 2020
Effective at 12 a.m, March 21, 2020, the U.S. and Canada will temporarily restrict all non-essential travel across the U.S.-Canada land border for 30 days.
"Non-essential" travel is travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.
Commercial Trade and commerce such as supply chains, including trucking, are NOT impacted.
Canada announced that U.S. citizens and Canadian citizens who cross the land border daily to perform "essential work" or for other urgent or essential reasons will not be impacted by the closure.
No formal guidance has been provided by USCBP as to who is considered to be an "Essential Traveler"
SUSPENSION OF ENTRY OF ALL INDIVIDUALS WITHOUT PROPER TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION
Effective immediately, the Center for Disease Control has mandated that the Department of Homeland Security suspend the entry of ALL individuals, at both the northern and southern borders, who lack proper travel documentation. As an example, this order will effectively ban asylum-seekers from entry into the U.S. to pursue such a claim.
ALL VISA SERVICES SUSPENDED
All routine non-immigrant AND immigrant visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates have been suspended. As resources allow, embassies and consulates will continue to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services. Services to U.S. citizens continue to be available.
MAINTENANCE OF NONIMMIGRANT H-1B STATUS DURING COVID-19:
H-1B employees temporarily working from a home office location that is within the same Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as the employer’s work location should post the Labor Condition Application (LCA) posting notice for 10 days at the employee's home office as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days after the employee begins working at the home office location.
MAINTENANCE OF F-1 NONIMMIGRANT STATUS DURING A LAYOFF:
F-1 students employed pursuant to their first year of post-completion optional practical training (OPT) who are terminated may remain unemployed for up to a total of 90 days.
F-1 students employed pursuant to their STEM period of post-completion optional practical training (OPT) who are terminated may remain unemployed for up to 150 days.
Periods of unemployment accrued during the first year of post-completion OPT count towards the 150 day unemployment period permitted to their STEM OPT holders.