Munsch Hardt’s Immigration Team is wishing you the best this Holiday Season and beyond, and we are hopeful for a Happy New Year for all!

With the ongoing pandemic, we are updating our usual holiday travel advisory to include a few safety tips should you plan to travel internationally before the year’s end or in early 2021:

  • International Travel: Check your passport and visa validity before any foreign trip. Importantly, the U.S. passport offices, and passport issuing authorities of many other countries, are taking longer than usual for passport renewals and extensions. If you do not have a valid passport in your hands at this time, you probably should not make travel plans abroad.  Also, many U.S. consulates abroad are either closed for anything other than emergency appointments or maintain limited work hours.  We strongly recommend against foreign travel if you or your nonimmigrant employees do not have a valid U.S. visa for return to the U.S. after a trip abroad.
  • Travel Bans: A number of countries (including Schengen states, U.K., Ireland, and Brazil) are subject to the “travel ban”, meaning a foreign national who had visited any of these countries must either quarantine for 14 days in a country not subject to the ban prior to traveling to the U.S. or obtain a National Interest Exception (NIE) from a U.S. consulate abroad.  NIEs can be challenging to obtain and adjudications are heavily dependent on a given consulate’s policies and practices.  Be sure to plan your travel timelines and any applicable quarantine compliance, or NIE applications, in advance of your trip!
  • Be Prepared: In addition to valid, original travel documents for yourself and each family member, be sure to have copies of all of these documents in a safe place, apart from the originals. If your documents are lost or stolen, having these copies would help save time when obtaining duplicates.

These are unusual times and we certainly hope that at this time next year we will be able to return to the usual exciting holiday travel plans, but for now, take care, stay safe, and let 2021 mark the start of a healthy and prosperous year for all!

Your Immigration Team