by Luke Phillips
The White House has announced that beginning on November 8, 2021, all international travelers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 who have been blocked from entering the United States due to COVID-19 travel restrictions will no longer be barred from entry.
International travelers flying to the U.S. will be required to prove they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days before boarding a U.S.-bound flight. The requirement to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than three days prior to departure will apply to all fully-vaccinated U.S.-bound air travelers, including U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Unvaccinated international travelers will be generally excluded from entry; however, the White House has stated there will be narrow exemptions, such as for children under the age of 18. Unvaccinated American travelers reentering the U.S. from abroad, regardless of their immigration status (i.e., U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and foreign nationals alike), will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within one day before traveling to the U.S. Such travelers must also provide documentation proving they have purchased a COVID-19 viral test to take at home after arriving in the U.S.
Also on November 8, travelers from Mexico and Canada who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to enter the U.S. via land and ferry border crossings for non-essential purposes. Travelers from Mexico and Canada entering via land or ferry will similarly be required to provide proof of vaccination. Such travelers who are not fully vaccinated will not be allowed to enter the U.S. for non-essential purposes. The new land/ferry policy mirrors the previously-implemented travel policy for air travelers from Mexico and Canada.
The CDC deems a person to be fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after receiving the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The CDC also considers a person fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the final dose of mixed doses, but only if both vaccines have FDA or WHO approval. Per the CDC, a person who has received vaccines listed for emergency use by the WHO, such as the AstraZeneca vaccine, will also be deemed fully vaccinated.
We will continue to provide updates as additional details regarding the new travel policy are announced.
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Immigration – The Firm represents businesses, institutions of higher learning, and individuals with respect to immigration-related matters, including obtaining visitor visas, temporary and permanent work visas, consular processing of visas, obtaining citizenship, advising employers on employment sanctions issues, and defending employers faced with INS I-9 audits and investigations.
Luke T. Phillips practices primarily in the area of immigration law, representing corporations and institutions of higher education with their immigration needs, including obtaining temporary and permanent visas, handling employer sanctions issues, I-9 and E-Verify employment eligibility verification compliance, consular processing, and naturalization.
Kristine Nazir represents corporations and institutions of higher education with their immigration needs, including obtaining temporary and permanent visas, handling employer sanctions issues, I-9 and E-Verify employment eligibility verification compliance, consular processing, and naturalization. Prior to joining the firm, Kristine clerked for the Honorable Jeffrey M. Geller at the Baltimore City Circuit Court and for the Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review at the Arlington Immigration Court. During law school, Kristine interned with the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of the Principal Legal Advisor and National Security Law Section; the Superior Court of the District of Columbia; and Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen, & Loewy LLP. Before attending law school, Kristine also served in Peace Corps Mongolia as a community economic development volunteer.
Diane Metzger practices in the areas of immigration law and employment law. From large multi-national employers to small employers who have no prior experience with our nations’ complex immigration laws, Ms. Metzger represents and provides counsel to clients with a wide range of business immigration needs, including but not limited to obtaining non-immigrant visas (e.g. H-1B, L-1, TN, E, O); applying for permanent residency (e.g., PERM, Schedule A, EB-1); navigating the naturalization process; consular processing and other applications made directly with the U.S. Department of State; out-bound immigration matters when U.S. employees are transferred abroad; and family-based immigration through U.S. citizen relatives.
Melanie Gurley Keeney practices in the areas of employment, immigration and education law. Melanie has been included in Best Lawyers in America® for 25 years, and has been recognized in all areas of her practice. She also has been named to Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers® lists for over 10 years, and has been rated one of the top 50 female lawyers in Missouri and Kansas. She was named a “Top Missouri Lawyer” by St. Louis Magazine and Kansas City Magazine for Immigration Law. Melanie has been distinguished as Best Lawyers® St. Louis Immigration Law Lawyer of the Year in 2019, 2015, and 2012, and St. Louis Education Law Lawyer of the year in 2017. In 2016, Missouri Lawyers Weekly presented Melanie with the Women’s Justice Litigation Practitioner Award and in 2014, Washington University School of Law honored Melanie with the International Women’s Day Award for Employment Law. She has served as an adjunct professor at Washington University and is a frequent presenter on legal topics. Melanie is a founding Shareholder of the Firm and currently serves as the Chairperson of the Firm.