by Luke Phillips
On September 20, 2021, the White House announced plans to rescind the current COVID-19 travel bans in favor of a requirement of proof of vaccination for all international travelers coming into the United States, beginning in early November. We anticipate additional policy details and implementation information will be released in the coming weeks. The below information has been provided by the Biden administration.
The announcement indicates that travel bans in place for individuals from China, Iran, the Schengen Area, U.K., Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, and India will be set side and replaced by a global policy requiring all international travelers, regardless of country of origin, to prove that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of boarding a flight to the United States.
The administration plans to provide for limited exceptions to this proposed policy, such as for children, COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants, and humanitarian exceptions for people traveling for an important reason who lack access to vaccination prior to travel. However, individuals who are exempted from the policy may be required to be vaccinated upon arrival.
In addition to this proposed policy, the White House has indicated that prior to boarding an airplane, all unvaccinated American travelers who return to the United States and are not fully vaccinated will be required to provide proof of a negative test result taken within one day of their departure and provide proof that they have purchased a viral test to be taken after arrival.
The administration also plans to maintain the mask mandate through January 18, 2022, enhance pre-departure and post-arrival testing requirements, and implement a contact tracing order for airlines requiring collection of comprehensive contact information for every passenger coming to the United States.
We will continue to provide updates as additional details concerning the change in policy come to light.
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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.