As you can imagine, the global pandemic that we are currently experiencing with ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 have created some serious complications when it comes to immigration to the United States. In fact, as government bodies are being overwhelmed with this sudden and widespread situation, the difficulties of immigration under the Trump Administration have taken an even sharper focus. The situation is developing on a day-to-day basis, but in this blog post, we will discuss what we know.
In order to get an exact and specific answer about your own questions regarding immigration and travel into the United States, contact the Florida Immigration Law Counsel as soon as possible in order to request an initial consultation and case evaluation. During this consultation, we will be happy to discuss the details of your situation, as well as your goals and plans in terms of immigrating or traveling to the United States as a foreigner at this time.
Please understand that, as with all policies, COVID-19 has caused rapid changes in a variety of immigration issues. As of April 20, this information is up to date but is subject to change with little notice.
How Has COVID-19 Impacted Immigration Into the United States?
At the heart of this post, the main question is how serious of an impact has COVID-19 had on immigration into the United States. The Trump Administration has been extremely combative of immigration into the country since 2016, and it is no surprise that this pandemic has led to even harsher policy changes that seriously limit immigration during this time.
As of now, the United States, as with most countries in the world, have closed their borders to all non-essential travel. This travel ban comes as a Level 4 Travel Advisory, the highest level advisory that the State Department can issue. If you are an American who is currently abroad, or a permanent legal resident currently outside of the United States and wish to return, there are a variety of protocols that you will need to adhere to in order to have your return approved.
Depending on where you will be traveling from, you may be subject to a 14-day quarantine upon your return and will be required to travel through select airports in the country in order to be allowed re-entry. In order to ensure that you are fully aware of the requirements that you must fulfill in order to return, contact us now so that we can help you understand your options and rights.
On April 8, 2020, the Bureau of Consular Affairs issued this statement regarding medical professionals and visas:
“Despite the worldwide suspension of routine visa services, U.S. embassies and consulates will continue to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services to the extent possible, given resource constraints and local government restrictions. Medical professionals with an approved U.S. non-immigrant or immigrant visa petition (I-129 or I-140 with a current priority date, or similar) or a certificate of eligibility in an approved exchange visitor program (DS-2019), particularly those working to treat or mitigate the effects of COVID-19, should review the website of their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for procedures to request an emergency visa appointment. Local government restrictions may limit the ability of some embassies/consulates to process emergency visas at this time. Applicants’ travel may also be subject to local laws, regulations, and travel restrictions.”
However, while medical professionals are still being issued work visas in very specific capacities, routine visa services have been suspended at all U.S embassies and consulates. This means that, for the time being, there is no ability to apply for a visa to the United States unless you are a healthcare professional attempting to visit the United States in a professional capacity.
Seeking Asylum in the United States During COVID-19 Measures
Over the past 3 years, the Trump administration has sought an increasingly harsh stance on asylum-seeking and asylum-seekers attempting to enter the United States under this long-standing protection extended to migrants. Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 global pandemic has provided the administration with an opportunity to further restrict this policy, and as of now, there is no certainty as to whether or not any asylum seekers will be granted entry at a U.S. border.
If you are a refugee who is either currently attempting to be granted asylum in the United States, or are hoping to seek asylum, one of the most important things that you can do is to partner with an immigration and asylum lawyer like one of our team at the Florida Immigration Law Counsel. Contact us as soon as possible so we can discuss the current status of asylum in the United States, what options are available to you, and more.
When Will the COVID-19 Travel Ban Be Lifted in the United States?
As of now, there is no clear end to the ongoing Level 4 travel advisory allowing for movement in and out of the United States, and there is equally no certainty regarding changes to current immigration freezes at U.S. embassies and consulates around the globe. As the situation advances with Coronavirus, we will be able to provide you with updates as they apply to immigration and those seeking to travel into the United States.
If you are a permanent legal resident or an American citizen currently living abroad but wishing to return to the United States, then you likely have an avenue for your return, although you can plan on it being complicated. If you are not a legal resident or citizen, but have an active work visa, there may be a way for us to assist you on your return to the US. However, remember that this unprecedented situation has led to extremely unclear doctrines issued by the Trump administration, state governments, and many governments around the globe.
Contact Us To Speak Directly With Our Team About Your Rights and Options
The best way to understand your situation in a legal context is to speak directly with a legal professional who is experienced with immigration and related issues. The team at the Florida Immigration Law Counsel has many years of experience helping people just like you realize their dreams of immigrating to the United States, as well as defending the rights of those who have entered the United States as foreign nationals.
Contact us now so that we can discuss your needs and questions together so that you can have a better understanding of your options for the near future.