US Travel Ban to be Lifted on November 8th

President Biden has announced the United States will reopen to all vaccinated travellers who can produce a negative test from November 8, ending a twenty-month ban on most visitors from a range of countries worldwide.

Under the Covid-19 travel ban, most people who had been in the Europe, the UK, China, India, South Africa and Brazil in the past 14 days were prohibited from traveling to the United States. The lifting of the ban means anyone can enter the United States provided they are fully vaccinated and can produce a negative test.

Many of our clients have put their US plans on hold until they can be physically present in the United States. For example, some of our E-2 Visa clients have expressed an interest in visiting the US to search for businesses before commencing their application. Similarly, some EB-5 Visa applicants have wanted to visit the US to view a Regional Center project, but changes to the program (investment thresholds and reauthorization) have played a greater role in decision making than Covid-19.

Despite the imminent lifting of the travel ban, Covid-19 continues to have an impact on US immigration. It has caused a slow down in processing at both the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) and at US embassies and consulates worldwide. Some embassies are back to near-normal services, while others remain closed. Either way there is a backlog of applications to process and clients are advised to act soon to position themselves in the line.

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, which allows people to invest in and actively run a business in the United States has remained open to applicants throughout the pandemic. At a time when President Trump closed most other categories, the E-2 remained open to new applicants. This visa is governed by treaties with sovereign governments and is less exposed to political changes in Washington. The country in which you hold citizenship must hold a relevant treaty for you to be eligible. Click here to find out if your country holds an E-2 Treaty with the United States. If it does not, you first have to obtain citizenship of an E-2 country – see Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Program – before you can apply for the E-2 Visa.

E-2 Visa Processing only involves your local embassy and does not involve the USCIS. In normal times, processing times are very quick, which means the whole Grenada + E2 Visa process could take nine months on average. Covid has increased that time, but it is still relatively quick (depending upon the impact of Covid on your local embassy).

L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa

The L-1 Visa is also open to new applicants after it was temporarily suspended by President Trump because of Covid. The lingering influence of Covid-19 has continued to impact processing times. Unlike the E-2 Visa, the L-1 visa is open to people of all nationalities. You can use this visa to move staff from an overseas office to the US office of the same company, and you can also set up a new US office of your foreign business and move yourself to the US to manage its growth. See new-office L-1 Visa.

EB-5 Investor Visa

The EB-5 Investor Visa has also been open to applications throughout much of the Covid-19 pandemic – President Trump deliberately exempted this revenue-raising, job-creating visa from his immigration ban last year. A federal judge reduce the investment threshold back to $500,000 in June causing a spike in demand. While the Direct EB-5 pathway remains open, the Regional Center pathway is currently on hold pending reauthorization in the United States Congress. If the EB-5 program reopens, it is anticipated that demand could be high, so some clients are already working on their source of funds to position themselves at the front of the line when things reopen.

These visa categories represent just some of the immigration solutions our firm can support clients with. While processing times have slowed down during Covid-19 and some visa categories were temporarily suspended, commerce always finds a way. Business owners, investors and entrepreneurs will always be welcome in America. Our firm has filed plenty of successful immigration applications during the past 20 months and we are excited to accelerate that as the world gets back to normal.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Biden Plans Reopening of US Border in November as our Firm Obtains Another National Interest Exception to Travel to US

President Biden has indicated that the US border will reopen in November, until then the National Interest Exception remains the only viable option for many people to enter the country.

The US border has been closed to people from Schengen countries in Europe as well as the UK, Ireland, India, Brazil and a number of other countries. President Biden announced this week that the eighteen month ban will be lifted at some point in November without giving much detail. The exact date remains uncertain and it is not clear whether the ban will be rescinded for all countries or only apply to the UK and the Schengen Zone.

So, for now there are only two viable options: spend two weeks in a permitted third country or make the case that your visit is in the US national interest.

Our firm has secured a good number of National Interest Exceptions NIEs for clients since the start of the Covid pandemic last March. This week, for example, we obtained an NIE for an Italian client seeking to travel to the United States on business.

The client is one of the leading Italian sales agents for the high-quality ceramic tiles. He represents the interests of a network of Italian tile companies – many based around the city of Modena. He is their global represenative and his area of responsibility includes the United States.

On behalf of the client, we argued that his work was within the permissible exceptions for travel as they came under the exceptions listed in the “Advisory Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers during Covid-19 Response”, issued by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on March 28, 2020.

His work supports the supply chain of building materials from production through application and installation, including cabinetry, fixtures, doors, cement, hardware, plumbing (including parts and services), electrical, heating and cooling, refrigeration, appliances, paint and coatings, and workers who provide services that enable repair materials and equipment for essential functions.

As we previously reported, these NIEs were recently bolstered to a year-long validity period with multiple entries to the United States permitted. That could soon be academic. If the restrictions on vaccinated travellers visiting the United States is lifted as indicated by the president next month.

There is also a chance that Biden will keep restrictions in place on some countries, so keep those National Interest Exceptions in mind


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.