The situation has evolved since March 2020 when the first travel ban to enter the US got established… We bring you the update at January 2021, and other presidential proclamations impacting the issuance of visas abroad.
The Columbus Consulting group shared this document in a questions & answers format to help you apprehend where do we stand on January 7th, 2021.
- Is the Travel Ban still in place?
Yes. The Travel Ban (Presidential Proclamation 9984 of March 11, 2020) is still in place until its termination by the President.
- Who is impacted by the Travel Ban?
The Travel Ban prevents the entry into the U.S. of all aliens who were present in the Schengen area (including UK and Ireland) during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the U.S.
- Who is not impacted by the Travel Ban?
The following type of travelers are not impacted by the Travel Ban (non-exhaustive list, see proclamation for full list):
- Any U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident – Green Card holder – of the U.S.;
- Any alien who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident;
- Any alien who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21;
- Any alien who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21;
- Can you avoid the Travel Ban?
Yes, by either:
- Spending 14 full days in a country outside the Schengen area; or
- Requesting a “National Interest Exception” (NIE). However, since the end of the year, the issuance of NIEs has considerably been restricted and the eligibility criteria are dramatically stricter.
- What is the new Presidential Proclamation of December 31, 2020, about?
On December 31, 2020, the President signed a Presidential Proclamation on “Suspension of Entry of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants Who Continue to Present a Risk to the United States Labor Market.” This proclamation extends Presidential Proclamations (P.P.) 10014 and 10052 through March 31, 2021.
- What is P.P. 10014 about?
This proclamation suspends the entry of certain immigrant visa applicants into the U.S.
Precisely, it suspends the entry of:
- Immigrants visa applicants;
1) Who are outside the U.S.; 2) Do not have a valid immigrant visa on the date of the proclamation; and 3) Otherwise have no travel document that is valid on the effective date of the proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the U.S. and seek entry of admission.
- What is P.P. 10052 about?
This proclamation suspends the entry of certain nonimmigrant visa applicants into the U.S.
Precisely, it suspends the entry of:
- H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and certain J-1 (interns, trainees, teachers, camp counselors, au pairs, and Summer Work Travel participants) applicants, as well as their dependents;
1) Who are outside the U.S.; 2) Do not have a valid visa in their respective classification; and 3) Otherwise have no travel document that is valid on the effective date of the proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the U.S. and seek entry of admission.
- Are U.S. consulates abroad currently issuing visas?
It depends on the type of visa.
- The issuance of H-1B, H-2B, L-2, and certain J-1 visas abroad is automatically suspended by PP 10052.
- The issuance of immigrant visas abroad is automatically suspended by PP 10014.
- The issuance or renewal of other types of nonimmigrant visas (such as E, B, or O visas) is directly impacted by the Travel Ban, even more since the end of the year.
Most recently: In order to being issued such a visa, we have observed in practice that one has to foremost qualify for a NIE, for which eligibility is stricter than it was.
- If you are already abroad and hold a visa stamped on your passport and wish to come back to the U.S., you can either spend 14 full days in a non-Schengen area or request an NIE. For those whose NIE’s requests are still pending at the U.S. consulate in Paris, the U.S. consulate in Paris has been delaying its responses, overwhelmed by an increasing number of requests over the holidays and a lack of staff, also considering stricter criteria of eligibility to qualify for an NIE (see above).
 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.
 Example: Mexico, The Dominican Republic, French islands (such as Saint Martin) as well as any European country not part of the Schengen area such as: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine.
Thank you Isabelle Marcus from Columbus Consulting Group for this travel ban update.