Immigration Update: Additional Impacts Related to COVID-19

Immigration Update: Additional Impacts Related to COVID-19

President Trump recently announced that the U.S./Mexico border would be closed to “non-essential” traffic. Yesterday, U.S Customs and Border Protection provided guidance on the closure. Importantly, these restrictions currently only apply to land ports of entry and ferry services. Permissible essential travel includes “traveling to work in the United States.”

Be aware the Department of State has cancelled all routine visa appointments worldwide until further notice. As such, individuals should not travel abroad, if they require a visa stamp renewal to return to the U.S.

These changes will impact Mexican workers, including TN, L-1, and E-1/E-2 nonimmigrants who frequently travel back to Mexico to renew their U.S. immigration status. Nonimmigrants in the U.S. should plan to file renewals with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to avoid possible disruptions in their work continuity.

Finally, USCIS announced the suspension of Premium Processing for Form I-129 and I-140 due to COVID-19. We recommend targeting the submission of renewals 180 days before the individual’s immigration status expires. This timeframe is the earliest that renewals can be lodged with USCIS and will help offset USCIS’s regular processing times that are often several months.

If you have any questions about these recent changes, please contact Gee & Zhang, LLP.