Keeping You Informed
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.
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.
For the most recent updates, visit our Insights page.
(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
- Regional Travel Ban Updates: CDC Testing Requirements for International Travelers – January 26, 2021
- Biden Administration Issues COVID-19 Travel Safety Order – January 21, 2021
- U.S. to Require International Passengers to Present Negative Covid Test Result – January 13, 2021
- DHS Again Extends Form I-9 Compliance Flexibility – December 28, 2020
- TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS AT U.S. LAND BORDERS EXTENDED THROUGH DECEMBER 21, 2020 – November 24, 2020
- DHS Extends Form I-9 Compliance Flexibility – November 24, 2020
- COVID-19: Updated Travel Guidance for India – October 6, 2020
- Federal Court Blocks U.S. Visa Ban on Temporary Foreign Workers – October 5, 2020
- DHS Extends Form I-9 Compliance Flexibility to November 19, 2020 – September 17, 2020
- DHS Eases Form I-9 Verification due to EAD Production Delays – August 20, 2020
- U.S Extends Land Border Restrictions with Canada and Mexico Again – August 19, 2020
- DHS Extends Form I-9 Compliance Flexibility – August 19, 2020
- National Interest Exceptions to Nonimmigrant Visa Ban: U.S. Department of State Update August 12, 2020 – August 14, 2020
- U.S. Visa Bans: State Department Update – July 16, 2020
- DHS Restricts Online Learning for Foreign Students – July 8, 2020
- U.S. Entry Ban on Temporary Workers: State Department and CBP Update – June 26, 2020
- President Bans Entry of Temporary Workers to U.S. – June 23, 2020
- U.S.–Canada–Mexico Border Travel Restrictions Extended – June 16, 2020
- COVID-19: U.S. Restricts Travel from Brazil – May 26, 2020
- President Restricts Entry for Limited Group of Immigrants – April 23, 2020
- COVID-19: USCIS Guidance for Extending/Changing Status During Pandemic – April 15, 2020
- COVID-19 Travel: India Travel Restrictions and Evacuation Procedures – March 30, 2020
- USCIS Operational Changes in Response to COVID-19 – March 27, 2020
- COVID-19: U.S., Mexico and Canada: Temporary Travel Restrictions for Land Ports of Entry & Ferry Service – March 26, 2020
- COVID-19 Travel: U.S., Mexico and Canada – Temporary Travel Restrictions for Land Ports of Entry & Ferry Service – March 25, 2020
- COVID-19 Travel Restrictions: India – March 24, 2020
- I-9 “In-Person” Requirement Relaxed During Pandemic – March 20, 2020
- COVID-19: U.S. Travel Advisories and Suspension of Visa Services – March 20, 2020
- COVID-19 Measures: U.S. Travel Ban Expanded to U.K. and Ireland – March 16, 2020
- Visa Appointments at U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India Cancelled – March 13, 2020
- COVID-19 Measures: U.S. Expands Travel Ban to Include Europe – March 12, 2020
- Coronavirus Travel Restrictions – February 6, 2020
International Travel Advisories and Resources:
U.S. Dept of State Travel Advisories:
U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) risk assessment by country:
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.
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/
- Online Case Status (USCIS Receipt Number Required)
- Estimated Processing Times at USCIS Service Centers
- Filing Fees
- Change of Address Form (Required for all Non- Citizens within 10 days of move)
- Photo Specifications
- I-9 Handbook for Employers
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP): http://www.cbp.gov/
- Information for Non-Citizens Arriving at a U.S. Port of Entry
- Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) Under Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
- Estimated Wait Times at U.S. Airports and Border Crossings
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): www.ice.gov
U.S. Department of State (DOS): www.travel.state.gov
- Visa Bulletin (Monthly Publication on Availability of Immigrant Visas)
- Locate U.S. Consulates
- Visa Wait Times at U.S. Consulates Abroad (Nonimmigrant and Immigrant)
- Schedule Visa Appointments in Canada
- Schedule Visa Appointments in Mexico
- Foreign Embassies in the U.S.
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
- Forms and Publications
*See Publication 519 for “U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens”
Non-Governmental organizations with news and information regarding immigrant rights:
American Immigration Council: www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org
American Civil Liberties Union: www.aclu.org