The Covid-19 crisis has disrupted all aspects of daily life. With both borders and Consulates closed, travel to and from the U.S. can be difficult. For those who already have an E-2 visa in their passports, the question arises as to whether or not you can enter the U.S. This blog post summarizes when an E-2 visa holder can enter the U.S. and some of the Covid-19 considerations surrounding this.
The answer to whether or not an E-2 visa holder can enter the U.S. will depend on where they are, and the travel restrictions associated with that country. The U.S. currently has some form of travel bans with Canada, Mexico, Iran, China and almost all countries in Europe. The bans are different and can be broken in to two categories.
Covid-19 Travel Bans with Canada & Mexico
The U.S. has closed the border to non-essential travel between Canada and Mexico. There are exceptions though and entering the U.S. for “work” is included as one of the exceptions. You can find out more about the specifics of the travel ban between Canada and Mexico by clicking here. While the proclamation exempts those traveling for work, there has been inconsistent treatment for those who have attempted to enter. As such, you may be asked to show that your job is essential in some way. If this occurs, you should point to the fact that the proclamation exempts those travelling for work but this may not guarantee entry. You should also check with your immigration lawyer as they normally stay apprised of latest developments.
Covid-19 Travel Ban with China, Iran, and Europe
The Presidential Proclamation related to travel from Europe and other countries related to the Corona Virus issued on March 11, 2020 can be found by clicking here. There are a number of exceptions, but E-1 and E-2 visas are not on the exception list. Moreover, unlike the North American ban, those who are returning to work are not exempt from this proclamation. The key here is that if you were in one of these countries (For example, France) 14 days before entering the U.S., you cannot enter. There are two options here:
- Seek permission from the U.S. Consulate to waive the requirement. (very difficult and we have not seen this successfully done). That being said, if your job is considered essential or you have some other compelling reason that benefits the U.S., this is a very real possibility. You would also likely need a negative Covid-19 test that was recently performed.
- Travel to another country, wait for 14 days and then enter the U.S. For example, we had clients fly from Spain to Mexico, wait in Mexico for 14 days and then enter the U.S.
You should note that one big issue is the lack of flights. In the case listed above, there were flights available from Spain to Mexico. Also, Mexico does not have any travel restrictions so entering was easy. Also, when entering the U.S., the proclamation indicates you can only enter through certain airports. This further complicates the travel situation.
You can find key immigration information related to the Corona Virus below
- Top 10 Covid-19 Immigration Questions
- Implications of Layoffs for employers who have employees on H-1B and/or E-3 Visas
- USCIS announces flexibility for request for evidence (RFE) and Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID)
- Information on Consular closures during Covid-19
- USCIS issues guidance on Remote 1-9 verification during Covid-19
- USCIS office closures due to Covid-19
- Can I apply for Unemployment Insurance Benefits while on a Visa?
- Canada/U.S. Border Closures
- USCIS announces temporary suspension of premium processing
- What can you do if your ESTA is running out?
- Travel Ban for Europe
- Stimulus Bill (All 800 pages)
- Information on Small Business Loans related to the Stimulus package
- USCIS to accept scanned/reproduced signatures instead of “wet” signatures on immigration petitions and forms
- Implications of furlough or termination if you are on a TN visa
- Does the Stimulus Bill impact my immigration status? Is there a public charge concern?
- Understanding the Stimulus Package for Small Businesses and the Paycheck Protection Program
- Small Business Administration COVID-19 Loans
- USCIS to Reuse Previously Submitted Biometrics to Process Work Permit Applications
- USCIS Temporary Office Closure Extended Until at least May 3
- SBA Loans and Public Charge Rules – Paychecks Loan Program and Economic Injury Disaster Relief Loan Program
- I am in the U.S. on H-1B visa and my employment was terminated due to the Corona virus outbreak.
- I am in the U.S. on an E-2 visa, can I apply for loans under the Stimulus Bill?
- Does Covid-19 impact my obligations as an H-1B or E-3 Employer?
- I am in the U.S. on E-2 employee visa. Can I apply for unemployment benefits due to the Coronavirus?
- I want to decrease the salary of my H-1B employee, what is the process?
- I am in the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa and my employment was terminated due to the Corona virus outbreak.
- I am on an E-2 visa but cannot go back to my Consulate to Renew, what can I do?
- I had to terminate the employment of an H-1B employee due to the Corona virus outbreak. What are my obligations as an H-1B Employer?
- If I get laid off or furloughed am I still eligible to get a green card?
- My status is running out and I cannot leave because of Corona Virus.
- Presidential Proclamation Suspends Some Immigrants from Entering the US for 60 Days but will have very limited Impact
- USCIS Extends Flexibility for Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny
- I am in the U.S. on E-1 treaty trader/E-2 investor visa. Can I furlough my E-1/E-2 employees?
- I am unable to enter the U.S. due to the Corona virus outbreak. Will this impact my E-1 visa renewal?
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