Effective November 8th, Travel Bans are Lifted and COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements Take Effect

President Biden has issued a proclamation rescinding the country-by-country travel restrictions previously applied during the COVID-19 pandemic which banned foreign nationals from entering the U.S. if they had been present in any of the following countries within 14 days: China, Iran, the Schengen Area, U.K., Ireland, Brazil, South Africa and India. Instead of the travel bans, the U.S. has now adopted an air travel policy meant to advance safe international air travel to the U.S. by lifting air travel restrictions for foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Travelers will be required to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of that vaccination before boarding a plane to the U.S. Individuals will be considered fully vaccinated after two weeks of receipt of the last dose of a vaccine, the first dose of an approved single-dose vaccine, or any combination of two doses of an approved vaccine (mix and match). The proclamation governs entry into the U.S. of non-citizen nonimmigrants (i.e. non-citizens visiting the U.S. or otherwise being admitted temporarily—traveling by air) and suspends the entry of unvaccinated non-citizen immigrants except in limited circumstances. Non-citizen immigrants who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and are permitted to enter the U.S. by air must comply with applicable public health precautions (mask-wearing, self-quarantine, self-isolation, etc.) established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and must agree to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 within 60 days of arriving in the U.S. or within some other timeframe as determined by the CDC Director.

Additionally, non-citizen travelers arriving in the U.S. by land port of entry (POE) or ferry terminal for both essential and non-essential (tourism) travel should also be prepared to present proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Individuals engaged in essential travel will not be required to be vaccinated at this time, but it is expected that in January 2022, DHS will require all inbound foreign national travelers seeking to enter the U.S. to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, regardless of the reason for travel. Contact your immigration counsel to discuss travel plans for employees traveling to the U.S. from abroad.

USCIS Adds “Market Research Analyst” to H-1B Visa Jobs

A settlement agreement was reached in the case of MadKudu, Inc. v. USCIS to correct USCIS’s misinterpretation of the “Market Research Analyst” Specialty Occupation. The agreement outlines new guidance for adjudicating pending or future H-1B petitions for Market Research Analysts and allows class members to request certain Forms I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, be reopened and adjudicated per the terms of the settlement agreement. Class members eligible to submit a Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, must do so before April 26, 2022, and USCIS will make a decision on all eligible, timely-filed reopening requests within 90 days of receipt of the physical file at the adjudicating office.