CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK AND IMPACT ON IMMIGRATION
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). As a result, governments in many jurisdictions have implemented a range of temporary immigration-related measures in order to contain the spread of the virus.
The following are some measures that have impacted global immigration:
As of March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has suspended routine in-person services until at least April 1 to help slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). USCIS staff will continue to perform duties that do not involve contact with the public and therefore USCIS is still accepting applications and petitions. USCIS will provide emergency services for limited situations. For more information, please contact us.
We have been seeing cancellations of visa appointments from US embassies worldwide.
Many jurisdictions have implemented entry or travel restrictions for individuals who are traveling from, or have recently been present in, jurisdictions where the virus has become widespread. Some countries have gone so far as to temporarily prohibit the entry of all noncitizens and nonresidents.
Many jurisdictions are mandating travelers from affected regions to be quarantined upon entry. Even if quarantines are not being mandated, nearly all jurisdictions have introduced additional health screening procedures at their ports of entry. Travelers should allow extra time for such possible screenings, and those exhibiting signs of sickness should be prepared for possible quarantine, even if quarantines are not broadly being mandated.
Many countries have temporarily closed consular posts and visa application centers entirely or for non-emergency services. Please check government websites for the latest official information on consular closings and visa application center closings.
Most countries’ health officials have issued notices advising against nonessential international travel generally or to specific jurisdictions where the outbreak is more severe. Travelers are advised to check official government websites for specific warning information.
In addition, many airlines, rail and bus services have suspended routes into, out of, and transiting through affected areas.
For updates on USCIS response to COVID-19, see this link.