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EIG COVID-19 Update | March 15, 2020

March 15, 2020

As COVID-19 impacts the United States and countries around the globe, EIG will now begin sending weekly/bi-weekly digests to inform our clients of all the developments impacting global immigration and global travel. We also encourage you to tune into our podcast – Immigration Nerds – where we will cover all the late-breaking COVID-19 developments, in podcast format.

March 15, 2020

  1. Schengen travel ban. The Schengen travel ban is now in effect (as of March 14, 2020). Individuals who have been in any of the Schengen countries in the past 14 days (with certain exceptions for US citizens, lawful permanent residents, and their family members) will be banned from entering the United States. The Schengen Area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
  2. Ireland and UK travel ban. The Schengen travel ban will be expanded to include Ireland and the United Kingdom on Monday, March 16, 2020, at 11:59 pm EST. After said time, individuals who have been in the United Kingdom and Ireland in the past 14 days will be banned from entering the United States. The same exceptions for US citizens and lawful permanent residents will apply.
  3. US Embassies and Consulates in India cancel visa appointments. The US Embassies and Consulates in India have canceled all immigrant and non-immigrant visa appointments, starting March 16, 2020. The State Department has indicated that once visa processing resumes, all appointments will be rescheduled. When EIG learns more about the rescheduling plans, we will notify our clients. If you are a client who is in India waiting for your visa appointment, we ask that you notify your employer and your EIG attorney.
  4. The US Embassy and Branch in Israel cancel visa appointments. The US Embassy and Branch in Israel have canceled all immigrant and non-immigrant visa appointments, starting March 16, 2020. The State Department has indicated that once visa processing resumes, all appointments will be rescheduled. When EIG learns more about the rescheduling plans, we will notify our clients. If you are a client who is in Israel waiting for your visa appointment, we ask that you notify your employer and your EIG attorney.
  5. COVID-19 testing and treatment will not be a factor in USCIS Public Charge analysis.  In a statement released by USCIS, the agency has stated that “USCIS will neither consider testing, treatment, nor preventative care (including vaccines, if a vaccine becomes available) related to COVID-19 as part of a public charge inadmissibility determination, nor as related to the public benefit condition applicable to certain nonimmigrants seeking an extension of stay or change of status, even if such treatment is provided or paid for by one or more public benefits, as defined in the rule (e.g. federally funded Medicaid).”
  6. USCIS office closure in Seattle. Due to COVID-19, the USCIS has closed one local field office in Seattle. USCIS has stated it will be rescheduling interviews and appointments once they deem the office safe from the spread of COVID-19.  EIG is monitoring USCIS office closures carefully, including I-485 interviews in the Bay Area, which we anticipate will stop in the upcoming weeks. If EIG learns of widespread interview/biometrics cancellation, we will notify our clients immediately.

As the COVID-19 situation will undoubtedly change day by day, we will work hard to keep our clients up-to-date on all immigration and global travel developments.