WE WORK TO PROVIDE TIMELY UPDATES TO HELP CLIENTS MAKE INFORMED BUSINESS DECISIONS.  Changes to U.S. immigration law and policy are summarized here on an ongoing basis.  Check back frequently for updates.

If you have questions about immigration policies, compliance or travel planning, please contact info@gibney.com or one of Gibney’s Immigration Attorneys here.

The general information provided is not intended to serve as a source of legal advice for any purpose. Please contact your designated Gibney representative or immigration counsel for specific legal advice.

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FAQs

For the most recent updates, visit our Insights page.

Topics:

COVID-19 – Immigration Impacts
General Information on Immigration Policy Changes and Travel
Presidential Actions Restricting Entry of Nationals from Designated Countries

(Last updated February 16, 2021)

COVID-19 – Immigration Impacts

For the latest immigration news and alerts, please visit Gibney’s Insights page.

As countries around the world grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, all international travelers should expect fast-breaking travel restrictions and government actions impacting immigration.  Many embassies and consulates are closed for all but emergency services, and have cancelled visa appointments and interviews.  Additional changes may be implemented with little or no notice.  It is possible that the U.S. may determine to temporarily close its borders to all foreign national travelers in the future.

All travelers should check foreign embassy websites and airline carriers frequently before traveling.  If you have scheduled a visa appointment at a U.S. Embassy, please check U.S. Embassy websites for information regarding closures and cancellations. Please note that some consular websites are not updated immediately, so check back frequently.

COVID-19 Immigration Updates

International Travel Advisories and Resources: 

U.S. Dept of State Travel Advisories:
Country Search

U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) risk assessment by country:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
https://www.gibney.com/alerts/coronavirus-travel-restrictions/

General Information on Immigration Policy Changes and Travel

Q1: Where can I find the latest government notices?
Please see our Links and Tools section for general information available on U.S. federal government websites and other sources. The information changes frequently. Some government websites may not be updated and/or may conflict with rules or policies being applied in practice at other agencies, consulates and ports of entry to the U.S. Please contact immigration counsel for specific legal advice on your case.

Q2: What documents should foreign nationals carry while in the United States and traveling domestically?
All travelers, including U.S. citizens, should carry a government issued identification card (e.g. a driver’s license) which is typically accepted on domestic flights as proof of identification. Check with your carrier for a list of acceptable documents. If requested by officers, all non-citizens should be prepared to present evidence of immigration status in the U.S. Lawful permanent residents are required to carry their green card, and temporary visitors should be prepared to present a passport, current I-94, and/or other evidence of status. Note: Many foreign nationals with a valid unexpired I-94 may not require a valid visa stamp for domestic travel within the United States, but do require a valid visa stamp if entering the U.S. from abroad. Different and/or additional documents may be required for international travel. Please contact immigration counsel for specific legal advice and/or information regarding documentation required for international travel and re-entry to the U.S. from abroad.

Q3. What is the government’s policy on searches at airports and other ports of entry to the U.S.?

Those seeking admission to the U.S. are subject to search at ports of entry. For more information regarding the government’s authority and policies regarding searches, please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.

Q4: Can marijuana use, possession, or sale impact a foreign national’s immigration status?

Yes. Foreign nationals are subject to U.S. federal law that considers marijuana to be a prohibited substance, regardless of whether it is legalized on a state level (e.g., Colorado, California, etc.). Violation of federal laws may have severe immigration consequences for anyone that is not a U.S. citizen, including temporary visitors, students, non-immigrant visa holders and workers, and lawful permanent residents (e.g., green card holders). Under federal U.S. immigration law, the mere admission of the use, possession, or sale of marijuana at any time in the past – either on social media or when interacting with U.S. Customs and/or Immigration Officers – could negatively impact one’s immigration status. Consequences may include deportation, denial of immigration benefits (e.g., visas, green cards, or citizenship), or denial of admission to the U.S.

For more details, please see the Immigrant Legal Resource Center’s Fact Sheet here.

Presidential Actions Restricting Entry of Nationals or Travelers from Designated Countries

*UPDATE* January 20, 2021:  President Biden signed a  Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States, revoking Trump era executive orders and proclamations  imposing visa restrictions on nationals from predominately Muslim-majority and African countries. The proclamation directs the Department of State to take action through its Embassies and Consulates to resume visa processing for impacted individuals and to develop a plan to redress visa denials and rejections issued under the prior bans.

Additional Questions?

Please contact your designated Gibney representative or immigration counsel for specific legal advice. For additional information, please visit our Links and Tools.

If you have any queries not covered by the above FAQs, please contact your designated Gibney representative for further information. We will continuously update these FAQs as more information becomes available.

This website contains general information about Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty, LLP and is not intended to serve as a source of legal advice for any purpose. Neither receipt of information presented on this site nor any email or other electronic communication sent to Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty, LLP or its lawyers through this site will create an attorney-client relationship, and no such email or communication will be treated as confidential. No user of this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty, LLP expressly disclaims liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this site. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Links & Tools

White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS): http://www.dhs.gov/

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): http://www.uscis.gov/

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP): http://www.cbp.gov/

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): www.ice.gov

U.S. Department of State (DOS): www.travel.state.gov

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL): www.dol.gov

U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA): www.ssa.gov

Internal Revenue Service (IRS): www.irs.gov

Non-Governmental organizations with news and information regarding immigrant rights:

American Immigration Council:  www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org

American Civil Liberties Union: www.aclu.org