U.S. entry restrictions

Current visa and entry regulations

Since the end of January 2020, the U.S. government has increasingly taken measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus and to protect the U.S. labor market. Now the abolition of the U.S. entry ban has been announced for November 8, 2021. Read below to learn about the implications for travelers, visa applicants, and visa holders.

 

Overview of current developments

On October 15, 2021, the Biden administration announced that current restrictions on travel to the United States will be lifted for fully vaccinated individuals with a negative COVID-19 test beginning November 8, 2021.

After U.S. President Biden lifted the Immigrant Visa Ban introduced by former President Trump on February 24, 2021, and allowed the Nonimmigrant Visa Ban to expire on March 31, 2021, the U.S. government now plans to lift the current geographic COVID-19-related travel ban on November 8, 2021 and to replace it with uniform rules for all U.S. travelers.

Who may re-enter the U.S. as of when?

Beginning November 8, 2021, all foreign persons traveling to the United States by land or air who can prove that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to re-enter the United States. This also applies to travelers from Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom (= travel ban countries). This means that tourist travel, family visits, etc. with a visa or ESTA will be possible again from November 8, 2021.

At the same time, entry into the U.S. will be made more difficult for unvaccinated travelers from countries not named in the Presidential Proclamation who were not previously subject to restrictions, beginning November 8, 2021. This will affect, for example, foreign unvaccinated travelers from Japan or Canada.

In addition, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will issue a new order requiring airlines to collect contact information from U.S. travelers to enable contact tracing. It is likely that the contact-tracing system will be implemented for all travelers regardless of their vaccination status.

Note: Until the relaxations are implemented on November 8, 2021, the Corona Travel Ban will remain in effect. Travelers from Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom will be denied entry into the U.S. unless they fall under one of the exceptions listed in the January 25, 2021 Presidential Proclamation. Up until the U.S. entry ban is abolished, companies or their employees from Travel Ban countries may continue to apply for a National Interest Exception, or NIE, under certain conditions. However, after the lift of the U.S. entry ban, NIEs are no longer necessary. With the elimination of the travel ban and the introduction of new regulations, previously approved NIEs for holders of valid U.S. visas or ESTA authorizations will no longer matter. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether individuals who are unvaccinated but have received a National Interest Exception will be allowed to travel to the United States.

Which vaccines may be approved?

Which vaccines are accepted by U.S. authorities has now been described in more detail by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Individuals are considered fully vaccinated

  • two weeks after the second dose of a 2-dose vaccine series.
    or
  • two weeks after a single-dose vaccination.

As of November 8, 2021, vaccines approved or licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and vaccines on the World Health Organization's (WHO) emergency list are eligible in all cases. These include the following vaccines:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • AstraZeneca

Participants in studies for vaccines that are still in the clinical approval phase in the U.S. (e.g. Novavax) may also enter the U.S. as fully vaccinated individuals under certain conditions.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals with so-called cross-vaccines can be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their last dose if they have received

  • a single dose of an FDA-approved or WHO emergency-approved single dose series
    or
  • a combination of two doses of an FDA-approved or WHO emergency-approved two-dose series.

The form in which proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination must be provided (e.g., digital vaccination record, immunization card, certificate) has not yet been announced.

How recovered individuals will be handled remains to be seen; however, it is likely that they will be allowed to enter the United States with appropriate documentation.

Will the COVID-19 testing requirement be removed?

Mandatory testing for airline passengers worldwide entering the U.S. from abroad, in effect since Jan. 26, 2021, remains in place.

To continue to contain the spread of new variants of SARS-CoV-2, travelers – including fully vaccinated individuals – must either continue to undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing within 3 days prior to departure for the United States and provide a negative test result or provide evidence of COVID-19 recovery.

Note: Fully vaccinated foreign nationals and U.S. citizens returning to the United States from abroad will possibly be required to have another COVID-19 viral test (e.g., a PCR or rapid test) three to five days after arrival.

Image of a COVID-19 test

Nevertheless, it remains to be seen what testing strategy will be implemented. The same applies to possible quarantine requirements in the United States, but these are expected to be waived for vaccinated individuals.

Will there be exemptions from mandatory vaccination (e.g. for unvaccinated, children. etc.)?

U.S. citizens who are not fully vaccinated must present a negative COVID-19 test no more than one day old, including proof that a test has been acquired, prior to their entry into the U.S. in order to be retested upon arrival in the United States.

Whether there will be a waiver for for foreign unvaccinated individuals (e.g. holders of valid visas, ESTA authorizations or green cards), and if so, under what conditions, remains unanswered.

It is still unknown at this time whether, and if so under what conditions, exemptions will be made for, for example, children and persons traveling for an important reason who do not have timely access to vaccination. Whether individuals who are exempt from the vaccination requirement may need to be vaccinated upon arrival in the United States also has not been confirmed.

How does the new regulation affect visa issuance and visa appointments?

As of November 8, 2021, two scenarios are possible: On the one hand, U.S. visas could be issued exclusively to vaccinated persons. On the other hand, U.S. visas could continue to be issued regularly to all qualified visa applicants, with subsequent verification of vaccination status by the respective airline.

More detailed instructions from the U.S. Department of State are needed before visa issuance changes are implemented at U.S. consulates worldwide or visa applications that have been suspended due to COVID travel restrictions are reconsidered.

Whether visa appointments for additional categories will be released, and if so, to what extent, must also be seen. We expect that B-1 / B-2 interview appointments, for example, could be re-released with the removal of the travel ban (likely associated with long wait times).

In any case, until travel relief is implemented, U.S. travelers and their family members are still required to comprehensively check whether they are subject to the applicable entry regulations based on their country of residence and under which circumstances, if any, they may be allowed to enter the United States by exception.

Since there is new information for U.S. travelers, visa applicants and visa holders almost daily, we have listed below the current visa and entry restrictions for the United States. We would like to address the most common errors in our U.S. visa fact check.

Information is updated regularly. If you have specific questions about your visa case, please feel free to contact our visa specialists.

U.S. entry ban for certain countries - Corona Travel Ban

As of January 31, 2020, entry into the United States from certain regions has been increasingly restricted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 9993, 9996, and 10041). As a result, foreign U.S. travelers from numerous countries are currently unable to enter the United States. In the meantime exceptions have been introduced for certain travelers, and the issuance of and entry under certain temporarily blocked visa categories has been resumed. It has now been announced that the Corona Travel Ban will be lifted on November 8, 2021.

affected individuals

The U.S. government does not allow entry if a foreign traveler does not have U.S. citizenship and has stayed in one of the following countries within 14 days before its planned entry into the United States:

  • 26 countries of the Schengen Area
    Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
  • Brazil
  • China (except Hong Kong and Macau)
  • India
  • Iran
  • Ireland
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (i.e. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland excluding overseas territories outside Europe)

Note: The U.S. travel ban does not apply to nationalities, so it is not a ban on people of certain nationalities entering the country. The Corona Travel Ban applies to specific countries of residence. For persons who do not have U.S. citizenship, the region in which they have stayed within 14 days prior to planned U.S. entry counts.

Validity

COVID-19 related travel restrictions will be eliminated beginning November 8, 2021. Until then, the U.S. entry ban affects the following foreign nationals:

  • visa holders
  • persons with valid ESTA authorizations
  • persons with other valid travel documents, e.g. Advance Parole
  • transit travelers

Note: Despite recurring rumors, there will, most likely, be no travel benefits for vaccinated individuals before November 8, 2021.

image of EU flag

Who is allowed to enter the USA?

Only a few select travelers are exempt from the entry ban.

General exceptions

The following individuals may continue to enter the U.S. – even without prior application for a National Interest Exception (NIE):

  • U.S. citizens
  • Green Card holders (lawful permanent residents)
  • close family members of U.S. citizens or Green Card holders
    This includes spouses of U.S. citizens or Green Card holders; parents or legal guardians of U.S. citizens or Green Card holders, provided that the U.S. citizens or Green Card holders are unmarried and under the age of 21; siblings of U.S. citizens or Green Card holders, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21; children, foster children, or wards under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens or Green Card holders or prospective adoptees under the age of 21 seeking to enter the U.S. (IR-4 or IH-4 visa)
    (grandparents, uncles / aunts or cousins do not count as immediate family members)
    NOTE: If there is an urgent family-related / medical emergency, but the U.S. traveler cannot qualify based on the degree of kinship, he / she can contact the U.S. consulate in order to get a special permit for entry.
  • crew members of airlines or shipping companies (C-1/D visa)
  • diplomats, government officials or their family members (A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO visa)
  • members of the U.S. Armed Forces or members of their families
  • persons whose entry supports important U.S. law enforcement objectives
  • foreign travelers from countries not listed in the proclamation (Turkey, Russia, Mexico, etc.)
    ATTENTION: Transits or connecting flights via countries affected by the Corona Travel Ban are considered by the authorities as a stay, therefore onward travel or entry into the U.S. will be denied. Choose non-stop flights to the U.S. and avoid a stopover in a country on the U.S. entry ban list.
Bild von einem US-Visum mit Ausnahme vom Einreiseverbot für die USA

Exception from the U.S. entry ban in the annotation field

Further exceptions

Individuals from countries affected by the Travel Ban (Schengen Area, Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom) whose entry is of national interest may enter the United States with official National Interest Exception (NIE) authorization. The following individuals may apply for a NIE:

  1. individuals who provide "vital support or executive direction for U.S. critical infrastructure sectors or U.S. critical infrastructure linked supply chain as defined by the DOS"
    According to the current regulations (in addition to specialized personnel) executives, managing directors, and board members can again qualify for a special entry permit, provided that the entry is directly related to an absolutely necessary support for critical infrastructures in the United States.
  2. individuals who provide "vital support or executive direction for significant economic activity"
    According to the current regulations (in addition to specialized personnel) executives, managing directors, and board members can now explicitly qualify for a special entry permit, provided that the entry is directly related to a substantial investment.
  3. journalists (I visa)
  4. certain scientists, academics and exchange visitors (J-1 visa)
  5. international students (F or M visa)
    NOTE: Students with a valid F-1 or M-1 visa and I-20 form are automatically considered for the National Interest Exception (NIE) upon entry into the U.S. and do not require prior approval of an NIE by a U.S. embassy or consulate (= Blanket NIE). Furthermore, regular applications for F-1 or M-1 visas are possible without a National Interest Exception having to be officially granted by consular officials. To find out whether family members with F-2 or M-2 visas can also use the blanket NIE rule or need a stand-alone NIE, contact the respective U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country.
    IMPORTANT: Please note that "new and initial students" who wish to apply for an F-1 or M-1 visa to start a new program, and for whom it is clear that the program will only take place online, cannot currently apply for a visa at the consulate or do not receive a valid I-20 form from the respective educational institutions. It is also currently not possible to enter the country with a valid F-1 or M-1 visa for a new and initial program, which currently consists of online classes only.
  6. medical professionals
  7. harvest workers
  8. persons traveling for humanitarian or medical emergencies
  9. persons traveling for U.S. national security reasons
  10. service providers for U.S. authorities (e.g. military)
  11. pilots / aircrew (C-1D visas)
  12. immigrant or fiancé visa applicants (K-1 visas)

Which individuals are covered by the exemption is determined by the U.S. Department of State or U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The NIE criteria are subject to change and were last revised by the DOS on June 29, 2021.

Both holders of a valid visa or ESTA travel authorization and applicants for a new visa may qualify for this waiver, which allows multiple entries into the United States within 12 months from the date of approval. This new rule also applies retroactively to all NIEs issued since June 29, 2020.

Note: Among others, the U.S. embassy Berlin and the U.S. consulates Frankfurt / Main and Munich communicate a different cut-off date for the calculation of the 12-month validity period. Here, the date of July 5, 2020 is mentioned.

Until now, NIEs could only be used for a single entry within 30 days and had to be reapplied for upon re-entry.

Important notice for persons staying in Travel Ban countries: Tourist travel, non-urgent travel for family visits, travel for non-urgent medical treatment and other such travel is currently not possible! Affected travelers who believe they have an urgent need to travel to the United States should contact the respective U.S. consulate in their home country. If travel plans are not urgent, U.S. entry should be postponed to a date after the travel ban is rescinded (i.e., after Nov. 8, 2021). More detailed information can be found in this article or on our website.

COVID-19 regulations for exempt individuals

Certain quarantine and COVID-19 rules apply to the United States. Since January 26, 2021, U.S. travelers worldwide who are exempt from the U.S. entry bans (including U.S. citizens, Green Card holders, individuals with NIE, etc.) must present a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen test) which must not be older than 3 days before departure and must meet certain requirements and contain certain information. Alternatively, recovered persons may present a medical certificate of COVID-19 disease.
The requirement to submit a negative COVID-19 test remains in place even after the travel ban is lifted.

By the way, the COVID-19 negative test will remain mandatory even after the U.S. entry ban is lifted.

Nevertheless, it is recommended to always consult the current information of the respective U.S. consulate in your home country in advance of a planned U.S. entry or visa application in order to prevent possible problems. If you need assistance in applying for a NI Exception, our visa consultants will be happy to help you.

Bild von einer US-Behörde

Impacts in practice

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. authorities have been operating in a more or less restricted manner, and in some cases numerous field offices around the world were closed for several months. Below we provide an overview of which applications are currently possible or have been made more difficult or suspended until further notice.

US consulates / visa appointments

As of March 19, 2020, U.S. embassies and U.S. consulates worldwide had temporarily restricted their visa services and public access. In close coordination with the relevant authorities and while ensuring the safe return of embassy and consulate staff, a gradual reopening took place.

Which U.S. consulates are open in which form and to what extent, which visa categories or applicants are processed at all and under which conditions, varies from country to country.

Visa appointment situation

The available appointment capacities have been considerably reduced since the outbreak of the Corona crisis and there is a backlog of visa applications. Whether appointments are available in your home country and for which visa categories depends on several factors and is subject to constant change (including local pandemic situation, local conditions and restrictions, current NIE regulations). Therefore, it is advisable to regularly check your visa profile for bookable appointments and to check the website of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for the current application status.

Note: The appointment situation in the U.S. consulates in Germany with locations in Berlin, Frankfurt am Main and Munich remains very tight and the backlog is large. As a result, only a few visa appointments are available. Emergency appointments will continue to be offered for urgent U.S. travel (e.g., medical or family emergencies); however, an upcoming study start (F and J visas) will not be classified as an emergency. National Interest Exception (NIE) applications will also continue to be processed. However, due to the high number of NIE requests that the U.S. consulates receive on a daily basis, longer wait times must be expected with regard to processing.

Applicants worldwide should continue to be prepared for the possibility that already booked appointments at the U.S. consulate will be canceled again by e-mail and / or SMS and that further delays may occur.
At the same time, we will of course keep our customers informed about further cancelations of appointments.

By the way, postponement of appointments are free of charge. Visa fees already paid or proof of payment for individuals who have not been able to attend an appointment since March 2020 due to the pandemic and the resulting closure of U.S. consulates are exceptionally valid until September 30, 2022 (instead of one year) in the country where the fee was paid. In some countries (e.g., Argentina, Brazil, India, Canada, Mexico, etc.), the one-year expiration period has been extended under a Visa Fee Validity Extension due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this has to be checked in detail depending on the country.

Note: The appointment situation may differ depending on the U.S. consulate and visa category. We recommend travelers to the United States or visa applicants to be prepared for further changes at short notice and to inform themselves comprehensively about the current regulations and the legal situation before entering the country or applying for a visa. It is unclear at this time what changes will occur after the U.S. entry ban is lifted on November 8, 2021 (e.g., regarding visa issuance and availability of interview appointments). For specific information please visit the official websites of the U.S. embassies and consulates in your home country.

Security regulations

You should also check with the U.S. consulate in your home country to find out what security regulations apply during interviews. The U.S. embassy and the U.S. consulates in Germany have implemented appropriate hygiene and distance rules. Applicants (except children under the age of six and persons who cannot wear a mask) are required to wear a mask. However, there is no test requirement.

Note: The current Presidential Proclamations, which imposed extensive restrictions on U.S. travelers from certain regions, have not been lifted as a result of the resumption of visa services. The U.S. government is planning to abolish the U.S. entry ban from November 8, 2021. International travelers will then be required to provide proof of full vaccination instead.

Visa Application by National Interest Exception (NIE)

Applicants who are subject to entry restrictions under the regionally oriented Presidential Proclamations 9984 / 9992 / 9993 / 9996 / 10041 in connection with COVID-19 (= Corona Travel Ban) can only receive a U.S. visa, if they also qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE), in addition to the general entry requirements for the corresponding visa category. The prerequisite is that the nearest U.S. consulate has reopened.

Individuals with valid ESTA authorizations or corresponding U.S. visas who believe they qualify for such an exemption must contact the respective U.S. consulate in their country to obtain a NIE. Since the consulates do not act uniformly, please check the website of the respective consulate in advance to find out how to contact them.
Usually, an e-mail with appropriate documentation must be sent to the consular section as a request. In particular, there must be a justification as to why you qualify for an NIE. Thus, there must be an urgent reason for travel.
Individuals applying for a new visa who wish to request an (emergency) appointment at the consulate must also contact the U.S. consulate in their home country (if it is open / issuing visas) and ask for the particular procedure.

As a general rule, when applying for a derogation on grounds of national interest, you should provide – in addition to the regular application documents – documents demonstrating the urgency of your application.

Our visa consultants will be happy to assist you in obtaining a National Interest Exception. Contact us today!

The decision on whether to grant you a NIE waiver is made by the U.S. consular officer either at the time of the visa interview (for new applicants) or via e-mail (for holders of a valid visa or ESTA authorization). If the National Interest Exception is approved, you may enter the United States. The NIE can then be used for multiple entries within a 12 month period (from approval).

Note: Before applying for a U.S. visa, please carefully consider whether you want to submit your documents at this time, given the current situation, because you believe there is an urgent and important reason for travel. Visas are currently only issued by the U.S. consulate if the officer grants a National Interest Exception (NIE). If you wish to apply for a new visa and do not qualify for an NIE, you should reschedule your (emergency) appointment for a later date if possible to avoid a visa denial (and accompanying ESTA suspension). If possible, you should ideally postpone your trip after the travel ban has been lifted. Despite temporary closures or limited visa services at individual U.S. consulates, applying for an NIE can normally still be done via e-mail or, if necessary, an emergency appointment. If you are unsure of what to do, please feel free to contact our visa consultants.

image from a US consulate


The services previously provided to U.S. citizens, as well as emergency services, will continue to be offered if the respective U.S. representative offices are able to do so. Applicants who urgently need to travel to the United States may continue to seek emergency appointments.

However, U.S. consulates worldwide have been required to allow the following applicants to attend visa interview appointments in any case:

  1. Medical professionals who have an approved USCIS petition on file and require a U.S. visa to enter the United States. This applies primarily to H, J or Green Card applicants. They should contact the respective consular offices directly.
  2. The same applies to H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers who are urgently needed to maintain agricultural operations in the United States.

USCIS Offices and Service Centers

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration and Services has reopened some domestic offices for routine services. Tougher guidelines for entering USCIS facilities apply.

This primarily affects:

  1. Green Card applicants.
    Appointments for in-person interviews at any of the USCIS Field Offices that have been canceled will be rescheduled accordingly by the U.S. authorities.
  2. Individuals with visas who are in the process of renewing or changing their status
    The Application Support Centers (ASC) have been reopened. These offices handle, among other things, biometrics appointments. Individuals whose appointments have been canceled will automatically receive notification of a new appointment from the USCIS.

The "normal" operation of USCIS service centers in the United States continued throughout the entire period. This means that applications such as L petitions could and may continue to be filed for processing.

Bild von dem Logo der US-Einwanderungsbehörde USCIS

Anyone who, through no fault of their own, fails to appear for an appointment with the USCIS or does not react in time to notifications from the USCIS (e.g., Request for Evidence, RFE) due to the current situation should not have any disadvantages. Provided one is able to prove that it is directly related to the Corona crisis (travel restrictions, illness, internal company issues, etc.). In particular, the USCIS is allowing more time to respond to RFE letters in the context of petition-based applications (e.g. L-1). Previously, queries had to be answered within 90 days, otherwise there was a risk of rejection. Now, the USCIS is allowing an additional 60 days if companies are unable to submit all required documents in time due to the crisis situation.

Note: Which restrictions and exemptions apply should be checked daily on the USCIS website, as there may be constant changes. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services also provides ongoing updates on the reopening of its USCIS offices.

Entry and Border Control

Beginning January 26, 2021, the U.S. requires air travelers worldwide to either test negative for COVID-19 or certify that they have previously experienced COVID-19 and have recovered.

This testing requirement affects U.S. citizens as well as Green Card, visa and ESTA holders – except crewmembers (C-1/D visas), certain U.S. government personnel, military personnel and travelers under the age of two.

To learn more about the exact rules associated with this, see our article on quarantine and COVID-19 rules when entering the US.

Note: The testing requirement will remain in effect after the corona-related U.S. entry ban for fully vaccinated U.S. travelers is lifted in November 2021.

Departure from the USA

Whether or not it is advisable to leave the USA depends on a number of factors and should, more than ever, be examined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account current travel regulations. Especially when family members on derived visas are involved, a thorough weighing of pros and cons is advised.

First of all, it is important to determine the status you have in the United States. Do not confuse visa and status. The I-94 entry form indicates the date on which you must leave the United States at the latest.

Please also note that status extension applications, in particular, can require a considerable amount of work and time. We recommend that companies check the status of their foreign employees in the U.S. and take timely action.

We are happy to assist you with assessment and implementation.
Please contact our visa consultants.

It may be possible to postpone your departure until after the travel ban is lifted. However, if your residence status expires soon, your departure is delayed due to the pandemic, or you wish to extend your stay in the United States, we recommend the following:

  1. Contact the appropriate U.S. authorities
    You can reach the USCIS at +1 800-375-5283 or the CBP at +1 202-325-8000.
    Alternatively, you can contact a CBP office directly at the airport or the Deferred Inspection Sites at the airport. This applies especially to individuals staying in the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA).
  2. Extension of stay / Change of status
    Check whether a status extension or change of status is possible in the United States. Note: The application must be submitted before your I-94 expires and is only possible for certain nonimmigrant categories, such as L-1, L-2, B-1, B-2, E-1 and E-2.
  3. Keep records of your overstay
    If the granted period of stay has already been exceeded or will be exceeded as none of the above measures will take effect, please make sure you have the best possible documentation. In other words, collect receipts for flight cancelations etc., in order to be able to document the not self-inflicted overstay for later entries into the U.S. It cannot be forseen, how the U.S. authorities will deal with these overstays at a later date. If the documentation is correct, however, there should be no disadvantages for foreign persons.

Note: The United States of America is still classified as a high risk area in some countries. Travelers returning from the USA are required to meet different requirements depending on their home country. For updated information regarding travel from the United States to your home country, please visit the website of the foreign office in your home country.

Business Activities US Visa Service

Please be assured that our entire US Visa Service team is here to serve you and your needs in the usual manner. Our employees are also mainly working remotely, but this does not mean any restrictions for you. In addition, our Berlin office is always staffed.

Especially in these challenging times, we will continue to provide you and your employees with the best possible support and case handling.

Currently, we are focusing on assisting companies and their employees who urgently need to travel to the U.S. for business purposes in applying for a NIE waiver. At the same time we are working hard to find further solutions for companies and their employees.

Of course, we will continue to keep you informed about the latest developments. Stay healthy.

Frequently asked questions

I would like to go on vacation in the USA and apply for a B-1 / B-2 visa. Is this possible?

An application for a B-1 / B-2 visa always consists of two steps:

  1. Filling out the online application (DS-160) and
  2. the subsequent payment of the visa fee including making an appointment at the U.S. consulate.

The B visa application can be submitted online at any time using the DS-160 form. However, a visa application is only processed at the U.S. consulate after the personal visa interview. You can view the respective appointment availability of the individual consulates online after paying the visa fee. Due to the current situation, capacities are probably still very limited.

You can find more detailed information on visa application on the website of the visa service provider or on the websites of the U.S. consulates worldwide.
Tip: Check whether visa-free entry with ESTA is an alternative, as the application for ESTA approval is possible without restrictions.

Please note that individuals who are not U.S. citizens will be denied entry to the United States despite having valid travel documents when staying in certain countries due to the Corona Travel Ban (e.g. 26 countries in the Schengen Area). There are few exceptions for individuals whose entry is in the national interest of the United States.

The abolition of the U.S. entry ban has been announced for November 8, 2021.

I have a valid visa stamp in my passport. Can I continue to travel internationally?

Foreign nationals holding valid, unexpired visas may continue to travel internationally – provided COVID travel restrictions, such as the Corona Travel Ban, do not prevent them from doing so.

Note: Beginning November 8, 2021, the travel ban will be lifted and entry into the U.S. will be possible for all international travelers who are fully vaccinated and tested negative.

I am already in the United States on a U.S. visa. What does that mean for me?

There will be no revocation of valid U.S. visas by the U.S. authorities.
If you have any questions about extending your status, please contact our visa consultants.

I am fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Can I enter the USA?

For individuals who have been fully vaccinated, travel facilitations will be implemented beginning November 8, 2021.

At the current time, there is no relief for entry into the United States. That is, vaccinated individuals intending to enter the United States from countries affected by the corona-related travel restrictions must currently still apply for a National Interest Exception (NIE) if they do not qualify for a general exemption.

Please note that vaccinated individuals must still present a negative COVID-19 test, no more than 3 days old, upon entry into the United States. Alternatively, a confirmation of recovery from a Corona disease can be handed in. Thus, vaccination is not a substitute for mandatory testing upon entry into the United States.

Is it possible to travel for 14 days to a country not affected by the travel ban and then travel directly from there to the United States?

It depends. First, you have to comply with the general immigration law requirements. In other words, do you need a visa to enter the United States, and if so, which one? Or can you even travel to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) with ESTA? If you have a valid visa or ESTA, you can consider the possibility to stay at least 14 days with evidence in a country that is not affected by the Corona Travel Ban (= all countries that are not mentioned in the Presidential Proclamation) and travel from there directly to the United States.

Since the Travel Ban does not apply to citizens, but to stays in certain regions or countries, this would indeed be an option – although not entirely unproblematic.
On the one hand, you have to choose a country that is not affected by the travel ban. It should be noted, however, that the U.S. entry ban can be extended at any time at short notice by the U.S. authorities to other countries in which the COVID-19 case numbers are increasing dramatically. Since the case numbers in individual countries are unfortunately developing negatively, the situation must be carefully monitored.
On the other hand, the respective travel restrictions and quarantine regulations of the country in which you intend to stay for 14 days must of course be checked – these are also subject to strong changes in some cases. Currently, for example, many people try to travel via Mexico, but entry by land into the United States is not possible.

Furthermore, please note the requirement to provide proof of at least a 14-day stay in the respective country, e.g. in the form of entry stamps, booking receipts, etc.

By the way, the calculation of the days is not explicitly fixed and our customers report different experiences at the U.S. border. We recommend to calculate conservatively and to stay 14 full days on site before moving on, i.e. a total of 15, better 16 days.

So, in theory, such a procedure is possible, but in practice, your travel plans may be difficult and risky.

For non-urgent travel plans, we recommend postponing travel to the United States until after the U.S. entry ban is lifted.


Updated on 18.10.2021


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Comments

  • Hello,
    You can find the list of banned countries in this article. Namely: Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, 26 countries of the Schengen Area, South Africa and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. (see https://en.usvisaservice.de/us-visa-news/article/us-travel-ban-coronavirus/#betroffene-einreiseverbot)
    Foreign travelers from countries that are not mentioned in the Presidential Proclamation and thus are not listed in our article are consequently not affected by the Travel Ban. This includes, among others, Morocco.
    Nevertheless, please observe the current travel regulations before departure (Corona testing requirement, etc.).
    Your US Visa Service team

  • Please is Morrocco part of the ban countries?

  • Hello,
    As mentioned in the article, the Biden administration has announced to abolish the travel ban in November 2021 (an exact date has not been communicated to date). Until then, the U.S. travel ban will remain in effect for European countries such as Germany.
    By the way, you can find answers to the most common questions in the article above.
    Your US Visa Service team

  • Please is Germany and other European country still under Band?

  • Hello,
    If you, as a U.S. citizen, would like to travel from Germany to the United States together with your spouse before the end of the travel ban, your spouse falls under the general exceptions and therefore requires an ESTA authorization or alternatively a B visa and the marriage certificate as proof - provided that it is a tourist trip. To be on the safe side, it is recommended to contact the airline in advance and clarify that no National Interest Exception (NIE) is required for your spouse.
    After the abolition of the U.S. entry ban, a valid ESTA permit (or alternatively B visa) is sufficient in case of vacation.
    Your US Visa Service team

  • Hello, I am US Citizen and I want to travel to Florida for two weeks with my non American spouse from Germany. Does the spouse need to fill out a form except ESTA?

  • Hello,
    As you can tell from the information in this article, the U.S. government has announced that it will abolish the U.S. entry ban in early November 2021. As a fully vaccinated person, you will then be allowed to travel from India to the USA again with your B-1 / B-2 visa. Please inform yourself in advance of your trip which vaccines are approved, how the proof should be made and consider all other entry requirements (negative COVID-19 test, etc.).
    Your US Visa Service team

  • Hi, When can i travel directly to USA from India ? I hold a B1/B2 visa and I want to visit my daughter whom I have not seen for the last 3 years !
    Bala

  • Hello,
    In the above article you will find information on which travelers are allowed to enter the USA under which conditions despite the U.S. entry ban (see https://en.usvisaservice.de/us-visa-news/article/us-travel-ban-coronavirus/#ausnahmen-einreisestopp).
    Neither full vaccination, possession of a valid L visa, nor the fact that you live and work in the United States and pay taxes there qualify for travel relief.
    Your US Visa Service team

  • I am fully vaccinated and on an L1 visa. I live and work and pay taxes in the US. I had to travel back to England for my brothers wedding. Will I be allowed back into the US without the 14 day quarantine in another location rule.