During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the government has restricted travel from certain countries in order to limit the spread of the virus.  This has not only made it difficult for people to visit the U.S., but also has separated many of our clients in the U.S. from their family and friends back home. Fortunately, the U.S. government has announced it will ease these travel restrictions in early November 2021. It will rescind the current COVID-19 related travel bans implemented for individuals traveling from China, Iran, the Schengen Area, U.K., Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, and India. Instead, the government will require travelers to show that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It will also require proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of boarding a flight to the U.S.

Limited exceptions to the vaccine requirement may be available for certain groups of travelers. Such groups include: children; COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants; and people traveling for an important reason and who lack access to vaccination in a timely manner. Individuals exempted from the vaccine requirement may be required to be vaccinated upon arrival in the United States.

What this means:

We previously recommended that our clients already in the U.S. should avoid travel to one of the restricted countries unless it was a true emergency.  Individuals who wish to travel internationally might be able to do so soon, if they are fully vaccinated. Keep in mind, you will not be alone! If you need to renew your travel visa when you return to your home country, make sure you plan several months in advance.  Consulates are still burdened with a substantial backlog resulting in limited appointment availability. We know that the winter holidays are always a busy time of year for travel. On top of that, we expect that many folks who have not been able to return home will be planning to do so soon. Clients who wish to travel and require a new travel visa should reach out to us as soon as possible to start the travel visa process.