Travel ban relaxation from Nov, 2021. What does it mean for employees on visa?
Updated: Oct 6, 2021
What's the new rule?
September 20, 2021 - The Biden Administration announced late last week that it will relax travel bans and restrictions, starting November, 2021. Under the new rules, foreign nationals will be required to show proof of vaccination as well as a negative test for Covid-19 taken within three days of departure to the U.S.
Who does it impact?
U.S. had restricted / banned travel for non-US citizens who have been in the UK, a number of other European countries, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil within the last 14 days. So, this new rule may impact anyone who wants to travel to the U.S. on a visa.
You can use this page to check country specific restrictions.
Are all vaccines accepted?
If you were vaccinated in the U.S., your vaccines will be accepted.
The administration hasn't released a list of accepted /unaccepted vaccines. If the U.S. were to go by what the U.K., Europe and Canada have done then the people who got the following vaccines may not be allowed into the country -
Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C)
Cansino (Convidecia, Ad5-nCoV)
Gamalaya (Sputnik V, Gam-Covid-Vac)
Sinopharm (BBIBP-CorV, Sinopharm-Wuhan)
Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc)
Vector Institute (EpiVacCorona)
Does this mean I can travel?
Unfortunately, it's still too early to say and complicated for different reasons. Let's look at different situations -
Situation 1: I have an active H-1B/L-1 visa stamped on my passport
If you are currently on an H-1B/L-1 visa and do not need to get a visa appointment for passport stamping, you should be good travel.
Situation 2: I need to get H-1B/L-1 visa stamped on my passport
You should be able to return back to the U.S. without any issues but we advise that you book a visa appointment at your country's embassy before leaving the U.S. The embassies are working at limited capacity, which might cause an issue with getting the visa stamped. You can use this page to check visa appointments for the embassy in your country.
Situation 3: I am on F-1 Day-1 CPT, OPT or STEM OPT
Check your passport and see if you still have a valid stamped F-1 visa. If you do, then it should be ok for you to travel. Make sure to ask your school's DSO for a travel I-20. However, do not travel during the cap-gap period, i.e. your CPT/OPT has ended and you waiting for your H-1B to start.
Employees on Day-1 CPT should keep in mind that your status as a student might be questioned on the basis of 36 months rule for CPT + OPT on your way back.
Have employee situations that we did not cover? Reach out to us at email@example.com
The information contained here is meant to be informational, and while WayLit has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not promised or guaranteed to be complete. Readers of this information should not act upon any information contained on this alert/blog without seeking professional counsel. This alert does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Any reference to prior results, does not imply or guarantee similar future outcomes.