Immigration Updates: Visa Processing, Travel Bans and the New USCIS Fee Schedule

Visa Processing at U.S. Embassies and Consulates
While some consulates are reopening to provide visa services, many are still closed for routine visa processing or are only offering limited services. For example, the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina started accepting applications for F, M and J visas on August 24, but remains closed for other visa processing. Applicants with urgent travel needs or who believe they qualify for one of the National Interest Exceptions generally must apply for an expedited or emergency visa appointment.

The 14-Day COVID-19-Related Entry Bans on China, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Iran, Brazil and the Schengen Countries
Numerous travel bans and restrictions on visa issuance remain in place. This includes restrictions on entry to the United States for certain foreign nationals who are traveling from certain countries, regardless of visa status. These restrictions are still in place as of this publication date and will remain in place until they are explicitly terminated by the president. The list of countries includes China, the United Kingdom (U.K.), Ireland, Iran, Brazil and the Schengen countries. Foreign nationals who have been in one of these countries within the 14 days prior to the date of their U.S. entry will not be admitted unless they have received an exemption.

The September 15, 2020 U.S. Customs and Border Protection Notice of Termination of Travel Restrictions
There have been a number of questions concerning the September 15, 2020 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) notice announcing a termination of travel restrictions and whether it eliminated the 14-day arrival bans imposed on foreign nationals who were physically present in China, Iran, the Schengen countries, the U.K., Ireland or Brazil during the 14-day period just prior to seeking entry to the U.S. The short answer is no.

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