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EIG COVID-19 Update | March 23, 2020

March 23, 2020

As COVID-19 impacts the United States and countries around the globe, EIG is sending global digests to inform our clients of all the developments impacting global immigration and global travel. The reports from this past week are available here.

International Updates

  • Bolivia | All international flights in and out of Bolivia are suspended, and land borders are closed to non-residents.​
  • China | Travelers of all nationalities arriving in Shanghai from any country will be taken to temporary checking and observation sites upon arrival by district staff, where they will undergo nucleic acid tests for the coronavirus. Those with negative test results will be escorted to their residences or designated sites by district officials to undergo 14-day quarantine, while people testing positive will be transferred to designated medical treatment institutions.​
  • Hong Kong | For at least 14 days, entry will be suspended for all tourist and transit arrivals, including all non-residents and all arrivals from mainland China, Macao, or Taiwan who has a recent travel history elsewhere.​
  • Singapore | Entry and transit are suspended for all short-term visitors from anywhere in the world.
  • Spain | As of midnight on March 23 and for the 30 days following, Spain will deny entry to EU country nationals and their dependents and third-country nationals, unless they belong to one of the following categories:
    • Residents in Spain or those residents traveling directly to their residence in another Member State or Schengen State;
    • Holders of a long-term visa issued by a Member State or Schengen State, traveling to the Member State or Schengen State;
    • Cross-border workers or healthcare or elderly care professionals to undertake their work activity, or personnel engaged in the transport of goods while undertaking their work activities, and flight crews required to carry out commercial air transport activities;
    • Members of the diplomatic missions, consular offices, international and military organisms, provided their mobility is related to the performance of official duties;
    • Persons traveling for imperative family reasons duly accredited and persons who provide documentary evidence of force majeure or necessity, or whose entry is permitted on humanitarian grounds.​
  • UAE | The UAE has suspended all commercial passenger and transit flights.
  • The US | The Department of State is temporarily suspending routine visa services — including all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments — at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. 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. More information is available on each Embassy’s website.

US Immigration Procedure Updates, as of March 23, 2020 | Last week, US government agencies announced procedural adjustments to several forms, timelines, and requirements. If you have any questions about these changes, please contact your EIG attorney.

  • E-Verify has confirmed that employers are still required to create cases for their new hires within three business days from the date of hire. Employers must use the hire date from the employee’s Form I-9 when creating the E-Verify case. If case creation is delayed due to COVID-19 precautions, select “Other” from the drop-down list and enter “COVID-19” as the specific reason. E-Verify is extending the timeframe to take action to resolve Social Security Administration (SSA) Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs) due to SSA office closures to the public. E-Verify is also extending the timeframe to take action to resolve the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) TNCs in limited circumstances when an employee cannot resolve a TNC due to public or private office closures.

  • The DOL has released guidance on whether employers will be required to re-post Labor Condition Applications if employees work from home. To read about the posting requirements for employees working from home during COVID-19, please read the DOL FAQs.

  • The Department of Homeland Security announced it would defer the physical presence requirements associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) under Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Read more.

  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that due to the ongoing COVID-19 National Emergency announced by President Trump on March 13, 2020, it will accept all benefit forms and documents with reproduced original signatures, including the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, for submissions dated March 21, 2020, and beyond. Read more. 

  • USCIS has suspended premium processing for all I-129 and I-140 petitions due to the pandemic, effective immediately. Petitions that already have a pending I-907 who receive no agency action on the case within the 15 day period will receive a refund on the premium processing filing fee. Read more.

Also, please listen to EIG’s Immigration Nerds podcast for the country by country updates on all travel and border restrictions as of Tuesday, March 17.

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.