EIG COVID-19 Update | March 31, 2020

Over the last two weeks, EIG has sent global digests to inform our clients of all the COVID-19 developments impacting global immigration and global travel. The reports from this past week are available here.

Please consider sharing this email with colleagues and peers who would benefit from this information. We’re all in this together.

International Updates

  • Belgium | A third-country national who is unable to leave Belgium for reasons of force majeure (quarantine, flight cancellation, border closure, etc.) may request authorization to extend his/her stay.

    For the time being and until further notice, Belgian embassies and consulates no longer accept any visa applications and no longer issue visas, except in exceptional cases (essential travel). In most countries, the Visa Application Centres are also closed. The examination of visa applications already submitted continues. However, in the event of a positive decision, the visa will not be issued immediately, unless the applicant has an essential function or an essential need.

  • Portugal | The Portuguese Council of Ministers has temporarily given all migrants and asylum seekers full citizenship rights, granting them full access to the country’s healthcare as the outbreak of the novel coronavirus escalates in the country. The move will “unequivocally guarantee the rights of all the foreign citizens” with applications pending with Portuguese immigration until June 30.
  • The UK | Doctors, nurses, and paramedics with visas due to expire before October 1, 2020, will have them automatically extended for one year. The extension will apply to around 2,800 migrant doctors, nurses and paramedics, and their families. More information available here.
  • The US | The Department of State advises US citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, US citizens who live abroad should arrange for an immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.

    At present, the Department of State is making every effort to assist US citizens overseas who wish to return to the United States. As the COVID-19 situation develops, the State Department’s ability to provide such assistance working with commercial airlines or arranging for evacuation flights may become more limited or even unavailable. There is no guarantee that the Department of State will be able to continue to provide repatriation assistance, and transportation options to the United States may be unavailable in the future. According to the DOS, travelers who choose to remain overseas should be prepared to stay where they are for the foreseeable future.

Also, please listen to EIG’s Immigration Nerds podcast for this week in immigration, featuring policy updates from DOS, DHS, USCIS, and ICE.

We will continue to send updates daily or as more COVID-19-related news is available. We recognize this situation continues to evolve; if you have specific questions, please contact your employer or EIG attorney.