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September 8 2021

COVID Continues to Affect Global Visa Rules

Travel from U.S. to Europe

Due to Covid, the European Union appears to be in the process of halting nonessential travel from the U.S. for the unvaccinated.


COVID-19 Vaccines

 Beginning on October 1, all new immigrants will need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 (in addition to the vaccines previously required).



 The U.S. still requires National Interest Exception (“NIE”) approval for people to travel to the U.S. within 14 days of being physically present in China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, or Ireland (unless one is a U.S. citizen or green card holder, married to a U.S. citizen or green card holder, parent of a U.S. citizen or green card holder who is unmarried and under 21, among others).

To qualify for an NIE, one must prove travel to the U.S. is for “vital support of critical infrastructure” and one must show that s/he cannot work remotely from overseas.  NIEs are valid for one year and for multiple entries.  One is exempt from the travel ban or NIE if one goes to a non-banned country for 14 days before entry to the U.S.


Conditional Resident’s Travel Receipts Validity Extended

Starting September 4, 2021, USCIS is extending the time that “receipt” notices can be used to show evidence of status from 18 months to 24 months for petitioners who properly file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, or Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status.  The I-829 and I-751 receipt notices permit international travel with an expired conditional resident card and valid passport.  The receipts also permit extension of driver’s licenses and work authorization.  USCIS is making the change from 18 to 24 months to accommodate current processing times for Form I-751 and Form I-829, which have increased over the past year.  The USCIS notice states: 

“Conditional permanent residents who properly file Form I-751 or Form I-829 will receive a receipt notice that can be presented with their Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card), as evidence of continued status for up to 24 months past the expiration date on their Green Card, while their case remains pending with USCIS. 

Additionally, we will issue new receipt notices to eligible conditional permanent residents who properly filed their Form I-751 or Form I-829 before September 4 and whose cases are still pending.  Those receipt notices will also serve as evidence of continued status for 24 months past the expiration date on their Green Card. 

As a reminder, conditional permanent residents who plan to be outside of the United States for a year or more should apply for a reentry permit by filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, before leaving the country.”