COVID-19 travel restrictions for the UK, Ireland and the Schengen area | Instant News


When President Joe Biden revoked the immigrant visa ban, but not the nonimmigrant visa ban or the 14-day travel restrictions, it looked like there could be trouble ahead. New National Interest Exceptions (NIE) restrictions to the 14-day travel restrictions for the UK, Ireland and the Schengen area have been issued, and many people currently in the US in E status , H, L, O or P must not travel abroad to a restricted country unless they are prepared to stay there for a period of time. On March 2, 2021, the Department of State (DOS) released new guidelines severely limiting previous guidelines for the NIS regarding 14-day travel restrictions for the UK, Ireland and the Schengen area. The previous categorical exceptions for professional athletes and treaty investors or traders no longer apply. The exception that previously covered certain experts and technical specialists, as well as senior managers and executives (those applying for H and L visas), has been canceled. The only remaining exceptions are those seeking entry for humanitarian purposes, public health response, national security, or “life support” for a critical infrastructure sector. However, previously granted NIEs remain valid and will not be revoked due to the new policy. A week earlier, on February 24, 2021, DOS updated its NIE guidelines on visa bans for non-immigrants, not to be confused with the 14-day UK travel restriction, in Ireland and in the Schengen area. This update has limited NIEs by requiring specific evidence, especially for H-1B, H-2B, J-1 and L-1 visa applicants. As an example, a technical specialist, senior manager or other worker applying for an H-1B visa whose travel is necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States must prove at least two of the following five indicators: The employer has an ongoing need for the services, as evidenced by an approved Working Conditions Request (LCA) during or after July 2020. While the work can be performed remotely, there is no ongoing need. The candidate will make meaningful and unique contributions to an employer meeting a critical infrastructure need and must hold a top level placement, have tasks that are both unique and vital to the management and success of the business as a whole , or have specialized qualifications. The wage rate significantly exceeds the prevailing wage rate by at least 15 percent. The candidate’s education, training or experience demonstrates unusual expertise. Denial of the visa will result in financial hardship as the employer will be unable to meet financial or contractual obligations, continue operations, or create a barrier to the employer’s ability to return to its previous level of operations. to COVID-19. Based on this advice from DOS, it is possible that a person may be eligible for an NIE on the nonimmigrant visa ban, but still be barred from traveling to the United States due to tighter travel constraints. NIE eligibility for UK, Ireland, and 14-day travel restriction in the Schengen area. Jackson Lewis PC © 2020 National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 62



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