The United States has recently changed its travel restrictions and is no longer placing restrictions on entry due to geography. This is great news for many employers looking to return to hiring foreign workers and bring them to the U.S. Starting November 8th, 2021, travel bans that were put in place due to COVID-19 no longer apply, and there will instead be vaccination and testing requirements that will not consider geography.
However, even though these new restrictions are more lenient than the previous ones, visa appointments are limited, and this is something employers and employees should take into consideration before traveling or arranging for travel. The new travel requirements apply to noncitizen non-immigrant international travelers who will be coming to the U.S. This new policy replaces the previous policy, which had country-specific bans on travel. The new policy will apply to nearly all non-immigrant travelers instead of being based on geography. Now non-immigrant travelers will need to be vaccinated to take a U.S. bound flight. Although, there are some limited exceptions to this vaccination requirement, such as:
The above exceptions to the requirements for COVID-19 vaccination are the only ones that apply. Previous exceptions no longer apply. The documentation required to qualify for these exceptions is given in the CDC Technical Instructions. If an individual is traveling to the United States through one of the exceptions, they must attest that they are exempted from showing proof that they are vaccinated. These people must also:
People in certain categories of exemption that will be staying in the U.S. for more than 60 days may need to attest that they:
Although travel restrictions may have eased, obtaining a new visa could still be difficult. It would be a good idea to check with any consular post concerning their visa processing operations before attempting to apply. Foreign nationals should also be ready to answer questions from an officer of Customs and Border Protection regarding their entry and any waivers or exemptions.
Once an individual is in the United States, they should check their I-94 within 48 hours to make sure it properly states their status and the dates of their authorized stay. This way, any errors can be more easily corrected. This is essential for employees since this form is often used as documentation for the I-9 form, and the dates on the I-94 may be used when determining the date on which the I-9 needs to be reverified.