Travel to the U.S. – Suspensions and Restrictions (Updated March 15, 2020)

The White House has published three Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related proclamations relating to travel to the United States:

  1. Jan. 31, 2020: Proclamation 9984, Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The proclamation cites Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 212(f) to suspend entry into the United States of all aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants, and other non-U.S. citizens) who were physically present within the People’s Republic of China, excluding the Special Autonomous Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. This coronavirus travel ban is effective as of 5:00 p.m. EST on Feb. 2, 2020.
  2. Feb. 29, 2020: Presidential Proclamation, Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus. The proclamation cites INA 212(f) to suspend entry into the United States of all aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants, and other non-U.S. citizens) who were physically present within the Islamic Republic of Iran during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. This coronavirus travel ban is effective as of 5:00 p.m. EST on March 2, 2020. This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 5:00 p.m. EST on March 2, 2020.
  3. March 11, 2020: Presidential Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrant of Certain Additional Person who Pose a Risk of Transmitted 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The proclamation cites INA 212(f) to suspend entry into the United States of all aliens (immigrants, nonimmigrants, and other non-U.S. citizens) who were physically present within the European Schengen Area (not including the United Kingdom) during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. This coronavirus travel ban is effective as of 11:59 p.m. EDT on March 13, 2020; also see Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf’s Statement on Presidential Proclamation To Protect the Homeland from Travel-Related Coronavirus Spread.
  4. March 14, 2020: Presidential Proclamation Amended to include immigrants and nonimmigrants from the United Kingdom and Ireland. Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, 11:59 p.m. EST, the U.S. will extend the same travel restrictions to the U.K. and Ireland as are already in effect for other European countries, China and Iran.  View recent blog here.


Continue Reading U.S. Immigration and Coronavirus Disease 2019 – Facts, Thoughts, Questions and Answers

On Feb. 7, 2020, the official visa information website of the U.S. mission in China (http://cdn.ustraveldocs.com/cn/index.html?firstTime=No) announced that as of Feb. 3, 2020, regular visa services at the
Continue Reading Update – U.S. Embassy and Consulates General in China Suspended Regular Visa Services as of Feb. 3

As a follow-up to our Jan. 31 blog post, we have yet to see an official announcement from the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in China regarding visa appointment cancellations for the week of Feb. 10 or later. However, this week, we began receiving non-immigrant and immigrant visa appointment cancellations for the week of Feb. 10. Likewise, the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou informed some EB-5 investors that “Due to the evolving situation with the novel corona virus, and the Chinese government response, the USCIS Consulate Guangzhou is cancelling immigrant visa appointments the week of February 10.” 
Continue Reading Update on Cancellation of Visa Appointments at U.S. Embassy and Consulates in China, and USCIS Response to the Coronavirus

On Jan. 29, 2020, USCIS announced that it would be making a significant change to the processing of I-526 Petitions, commonly referred to as EB-5 Petitions. USCIS previously had a policy to adjudicate EB-5 Petitions on a “first-in, first-out” basis. This meant that USCIS was to review and decide EB-5 Petitions based solely on the date the petition was filed with USCIS. Today, USCIS announced that it would change this policy and decide EB-5 Petitions using the “visa availability” approach.

What is the “Visa Availability” approach?

The “visa availability” approach outlined by USCIS would prioritize EB-5 Petitions for adjudication based on whether a visa number is available to the investor. This ties the timing of the decision on the EB-5 petition to whether the investor is subject to visa retrogression based on their country of birth. As a reminder, the employment-based fifth preference category “EB-5” is allotted approximately 10,000 immigrant visas annually. This quota includes principal applicants, as well as spouses and dependent children under 21 years of age. No one country can exceed more than seven percent of the total EB-5 visas available in each fiscal year.


Continue Reading USCIS Announces Significant Change to EB-5 Adjudications Processing

As many of our readers are aware, the novel coronavirus1 outbreak in China is a major public health concern. At the time of publishing this blog post, the U.S. has not restricted travel for visitors who may be coming from Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, the now-quarantined city that is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. However, travelers originating in China may face certain issues upon arrival to the U.S. if coming from virus-stricken areas.
Continue Reading Immigration Issues for Chinese Travelers to the United States During the Coronavirus Outbreak