The winter holidays are fast approaching, and many people are planning to travel. Whether you are traveling on business or on holiday, there are important requirements to consider before you leave. While many places have less severe COVID-19 restrictions this year, many countries still have some travel policies and entry requirements in place. Knowing what restrictions and requirements apply to your destination can save time and reduce the stress of traveling across borders.
Below are some vital tips for your holiday travel. While this information is a general overview of current COVID-19 restrictions and travel preparations, please feel free to contact your immigration team for personal assistance and more details.
USA: COVID-19 Entry Requirements for International Travelers
Vaccination status:?As of June 12, 2022, vaccinated foreign travelers entering the US by air are no longer required to undergo a COVID-19 test or show negative COVID-19 test results prior to departure to the US. – order with travelers two years of age and older entering the United States from another country. Individuals who are not lawful permanent residents (LPRs), US nationals or US citizens may enter the country only if they are fully vaccinated, with limited exceptions. Entry restrictions remain in place for people entering the US by land and ferry.
Look at our latest update regarding the COVID-19 travel requirements for inbound travel to the US
North America: COVID-19 Travel Updates
In 2022, COVID-19 travel protocols were eased across North America. On October 1, 2022, Canada lifted all of its entry requirements regarding COVID-19. Travelers are no longer required to provide proof of vaccination, quarantine or isolate, monitor for signs and symptoms of illness and submit health information to the government. The protocols also apply to ferry passengers.
Look at our corresponding post for full details.
While the COVID-19 requirements have changed in 2022 for some travelers, others are still subject to stricter policies. The information below will help travelers who do not otherwise meet the travel exemptions.
- Proof of Vaccination:? Individuals who are not LPRs, US nationals, or US citizens, when traveling to the US by air, must show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Accepted Vaccines:? The CDC has determined that, for travel to the US, vaccinations approved or authorized by the FDA and emergency use listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) (EUL) will be included. vaccines. Individuals will be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last dose of vaccine.
- Improved Testing:? Some travelers must provide a negative COVID-19 test result, with testing done within three days of travel. A negative COVID-19 test, performed within one day of departure, may be required for unvaccinated US citizens and LPRs.
- Needs for Children:? Children under the age of 18 are exempt from the vaccination requirement for foreign national travelers, but children between the ages of two and 17 must undergo a pre-departure test regardless of vaccination status. Children under the age of two are exempt from testing requirements. If traveling with a fully vaccinated adult, an unvaccinated child can be tested three days before departure (in accordance with the timeline for fully vaccinated adults). If an unvaccinated child travels alone or with unvaccinated adults, they will need to be tested within 24 hours of departure.
Limited Exceptions to Vaccine Requirements:
- Children under 18 (see above).
- Specific participants in a clinical trial of COVID-19.
- Travelers with reactions or medical reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine
- Travelers issued a humanitarian or emergency exception (by letter issued by the US government).
- Travelers entering on non-tourist visas from countries with low vaccine availability (as determined by the CDC).
- US Armed Forces or their spouses or children (under 18).
In general, travelers who receive an exception and plan to stay in the US for more than 60 days will be required to certify that they meet applicable public health requirements, including, with minimal exceptions, a condition that they have been vaccinated in the US .
Travel Across Canada/Mexico Land Borders or Ferry Crossings:
- Canada has lifted all COVID-19 entry restrictions
- Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result is no longer required to enter Canada for air and ferry passengers
- Foreign nationals who have been fully vaccinated with a CDC or WHO approved COVID-19 vaccine will be allowed to enter the US via a land/ferry border crossing in Canada or Mexico.
Exceptions:? With limited exceptions, unvaccinated foreign nationals may not enter the US via a land/ferry border crossing in Canada or Mexico.
Essential travel is not subject to vaccination requirements.
To learn more about travel & vaccination requirements, visit the ?US Department of State Travel FAQs,?CDC International Travel Guidelinesor contact your immigration team.
Ensure Your Documents Remain Valid
passport:? For inbound travelers from the US, make sure your passport is valid for at least as long as the validity period on your Form I-797 Approval Notice (six months after that date unless the issuing country on the six month club list. If not, your I-94 expiration when re-entering the US will coincide with the expiration date of your passport (meaning, your stay in the US will be shortened).
Visa Stamps:? For most nonimmigrant workers, you will need a valid visa stamp for the appropriate nonimmigrant category in your passport to re-enter the US
Book your visa appointment through the ?Free DOS website, ?Before you depart the US Complete your DS-160 online before booking your travel to determine visa appointment availability. Most US consulates around the world are beginning to resume operations at their pre-pandemic capacity, but you should check with the consulate at your chosen destination to find out what services are available.
Note that some consulates may still have longer waiting times for visa appointments even if they have partial or full visa services to follow.
I-797 Approval & Petition:? If you are in the US on an employment-based nonimmigrant petition, make sure you have your most recent original nonimmigrant petition approval notice – aka the “Form I-797 Notice of Approval.” Also make sure you have the necessary supporting documents.
L-1 Flag Petition Applicants: You will need to submit your original Form I-129S endorsed by an immigration officer.
Proof of Continuous Employment:? Bring copies of your three most recent pay stubs and/or an Employment Verification Letter from your HR to show continued employment in the US
Permanent Residents/Applicants for Permanent Residence
Make sure you have your Green Card and that it is unworn and undamaged.
If your Green Card/Application for Adjustment of Status is pending, you should have your valid Advance Parole document or a valid non-immigrant visa to re-enter the US.
If you have an advance parole application pending, it is recommended that you wait for approval before traveling internationally, as your advance parole application may be denied if you leave the US while it is pending.
Transfer Through Other Countries or Regions
If you need to transit through another country to reach your destination (eg, layover), make sure you have the visa and necessary documents related to the country of transit. If you have any questions about the visa requirements of the country you will be moving through, contact your immigration team for assistance.
Plan Extra Time for Travel Delays
International travel can involve many unexpected delays. Add extra time to cover increased waiting times for customs inspection, security checkpoints, COVID-19 screening and other related procedures.
Plan for possible delays and arrange travel that is reimbursable or can be rescheduled if necessary. Notify your HR manager of any delays that arise.
When You Return to the USA
Questions from US Customs:? If you are stopped or questioned by US Customs officials, US immigration officials, or other Port of Entry/Airport personnel, be cooperative, listen carefully to any questions you are asked, and answer clearly and precisely. Be prepared to answer questions about your immigration status, such as:
- Who is your employer?
- What is your job title?
- What do you do in the USA?
- How long do you intend to stay?
You should review the job details listed in the most recently filed petition so that you are prepared to answer these questions. You can check with your immigration team before you leave if you have any questions about how your job details are reflected in your application. If you don’t know the answer to an officer’s question, it’s okay to say so. It’s better to answer truthfully than to make an answer that could be a problem later.
US Entry Access:? You do not have the right to an attorney while at a Port of Entry or Preflight Inspection Facility. However, immigration officers are generally reasonable and understanding and may allow you to contact your immigration attorney for assistance.
Provide Your I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.?When you return to the US, remember to:
- Check your I-94 Arrival/Departure Record online:?https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov?> Get the Latest I-94.
- Confirm that your information is correct and that you have been given the correct status and duration.
- Upload your I-94 records (and visas if you received new ones) and your dependent family members to your ?Delegate Web Portal? after all international travel.
By following these steps, you will ensure that your US immigration status is adequately monitored and maintained.
Safe travels and happy holidays from the Envoy Family!
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.