Compared to the previous year, the process of entering the United States for business, travel, work, or immigration has improved considerably in 2021. Nearly all of the restrictive executive orders signed by former President Donald Trump have been eliminated or replaced with new White House directives that approximate the immigration landscape before 2017. Many coronavirus pandemic restrictions are being lifted or relaxed thanks to aggressive vaccination campaigns, and the current administration is working on improving the systems and processes of government agencies tasked with travel and immigration matters.
Prepare to Have a Valid Passport & Negative COVID-19 Test
At the very minimum, a foreigner who wishes to enter the U.S. in 2021 will need a passport that has at least six months left in terms of validity. Depending on which region of the world you’re arriving from, you may need to present evidence of a laboratory test that shows negative SARS-CoV-2 results. In general, this requirement will be handled through airlines, bus lines, cruise lines, and railway lines or at land border checkpoints. In the near future, a COVID-19 passport issued with a vaccination certificate may be required. The pandemic has thoroughly shaken up the travel industry, and this situation is still very dynamic as of mid-2021. You should stay up to date on COVID-19 travel requirements through your immigration law firm.
Stay Up to Date on Possible Visa Cap Increases
The only exceptions to the passport rule would be some refugee and asylum cases. These are also cases that may not require visa issuance prior to arrival. Processing of both immigrant and non-immigrant visas has resumed after having been suspended for many months in 2020. In fact, the visa cap for the H-1B program, which is for skilled workers, was quickly reached in April 2021. The current administration has proposed increasing visa caps not just in the H-1B category but also in terms of family-based immigration. San Diego immigrants should learn as much as possible about updates to family-based immigration and the Electronic Diversity Visa Program, also known as the “green card lottery.”
Some American lawmakers will likely challenge the proposals to increase visa caps, but political analysts believe the White House stands to prevail in this regard. There may be some compromises in terms of higher processing fees and perhaps some new or amended requirements. What this means to prospective immigrants is that they should stay in touch with their immigration lawyers in San Diego or other destination of choice so they can be informed in a timely manner.
Be Aware of Positive Changes in Immigration Policies & Administration
Finally, and this is very important, the current administration has ordered several internal reviews at the various federal agencies that handle immigration matters. During the Trump administration, draconian White House policy resulted in a dysfunctional climate within the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as well as other offices in charge of administration and enforcement. Visa and green card processing backlogs are gradually being addressed, and more employees are being recruited now that the federal hiring freeze has been lifted. Short of comprehensive immigration reform, which the current administration is unlikely to address, an internal overhaul is the best thing that could happen to prospective immigrants.
If you have questions about any aspect of immigration, contact trusted attorneys who have vast experience with immigration services. In San Diego, KS Visa Law is the firm to turn to when you need advice about immigration law and how it affects you and your family. Call us today at 858-874-0711 to schedule an appointment.