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NAF-BIZ New York – Update travel restrictions for Dutch businesses – 29 July 2020

This document contains our interpretation of the webinar only. It’s not endorsed nor supported by the U.S. Consulate, nor NAF-BIZ. All information is according to the regulations of July 28, 2020 and is subject to change; always check official sources before making any decisions. No rights can be obtained from this document.

PROCLAMATION PP 9993 – Schengen Area travel restrictions

  • Travelers who have been in the Schengen Area in the 14 days prior to U.S. entry are restricted (no expiration date); this includes lay overs in the Schengen Area. If you stayed in for example Turkey for 2 weeks and you fly to the U.S. via Frankfurt, you’re still not allowed in country.
  • Exceptions: urgent medical treatment, public health, humanitarian and national security reasons and certain students and academics. Also, economic (technical experts and specialists, senior-level managers and executives, professional athletes) and investors and dependents.

PROCLAMATION PP 10052 – Risk to U.S. Labor Market

  • Restricts issuance of new H, L and certain J visas (expires December 31, 2020).
  • Affected visa classes: H-1B and H-2B / J participating in intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program / L visas.
  • Enumerated exceptions: LPRs and spouses/children of U.S. citizens and temporary labor essential to U.S. food supply chain (H-2B).

There are various NATIONAL INTEREST EXCEPTIONS

  • H-1B healthcare professionals.
  • H-1B and H-2B traveling based on a request from a USG agency.
  • L healthcare professionals.
  • J-1 au pairs for children with special needs or whose parents are medical professionals.
  • J-1 interns and trainees on U.S. government agency-sponsored programs (those with a program number beginning with “G-3” on Form DS-2019).
  • J-1 specialized teachers in accredited educational institutions with a program number beginning with “G-5” on Form DS-2019.
  • H-4, L-2, and J-2s accompanying or following to join a principal applicant who is excepted from or not subject to PP 10052.

National Interest Exceptions (NIE) process

  • Requests to apply for entry based on a national interest exception must be submitted to amsterdamcovid19@state.gov; the application should include a letter from the company stating what the executive will be doing in the U.S. and how the travel will contribute to substantial economic impact in the U.S.
  • Around early August the processing time was about a week. No guarantees though about processing time.
  • If approved, the visa waiver is valid for one entry within 30 days of approval; travelers remain subject to any local quarantine requirements upon arrival.
  • Travelers still subject to local quarantine requirements. Info: https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/what-to-know-about-each-state-during-the-coronavirus
  • No pre-approval.

No travel restrictions apply to certain immediate family members of U.S. citizens and LPRs, C1/D and B-1 crewmembers, diplomats, travelers at invitation related to virus containment, and those that do not pose a threat to transmitting the virus (as determined by the CDC director).

RESOURCES

This link answers a lot of questions about travelling to The Netherlands:

SCENARIOS

  1. An E-visa holder is in the U.S. and the visa will expire before 31 December. Can the E-visa be extended remotely while staying in the U.S.? And can the E-visa holder and his/her family travel back to the Netherlands for interview to renew visa. And if so, can they travel back to the U.S. if
    1. the visa-renewal has been approved or
    2. the renewal has been denied to prepare for moving back.

Answer: E-visa applications are being processed again in Amsterdam. The application can be done from the U.S. however, if they get invited for an interview this will be in the Netherlands. With an EU Passport they can travel back to the Netherlands (may have to go in quarantine for two weeks). Since they have been in the Schengen area, they will have to apply for the NIE. If the E-visa is still valid they will still be able to return to the U.S. on the E-visa if their application for the NIE gets approved. If the U.S. Consulate issues the E-visa, they will automatically annotate the visa with a NIE.

  1. An L-Visa holder is in the U.S. and the visa will expire 31 November. Can the L-visa be renewed and if so, where should this be done? And can the L-visa holder stay in the U.S. after 31 November and if so, what needs to get done so the family can stay in the U.S. for now.

Answer: Until 31 December 2020 L-visa are not being issued or extended under Presidential Proclamation 10052. Applications cannot be filed until 31 December 2020 either. A request for an extension of status can be filed that allows the persons to stay in the U.S., however they can no longer re-enter the U.S. on their L after 31 November 2020. These extensions are for two years and require proof of maintenance of status via recent paychecks, as well as proof that the company is keeping in line with its projected growth and revenue, or if not a discussion of how Covid-19 has affected the company and how it plans to adapt to Covid-19 and grow after.

  1. An L-visa holder is currently in the Netherlands and needs to go back to the U.S. He has applied for the NIE, however this was denied. Can the holder and his/her family travel to the U.S. with a minimum two week stay in Canada before entering the U.S.? If they opt for Turkey or Egypt and want to fly back to the U.S. via Frankfurt, is that an option? And what if they decided to stay in Aruba for two weeks as a stop before entering the U.S. and Aruba suddenly experiences an outbreak of Corona. The U.S. removes Aruba from the list of exception countries. Will entry into the U.S. still be possible?

Answer: Yes, there is a number of countries from where entry into the U.S. after 2 weeks of stay is possible. For a list of countries see https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-information.html (these are subject to change). Always check the local regulations before you travel to a certain country. Keep in mind that from that country a direct flight should be taken into the U.S. Do not make a stop-over in a country that is restricted by the travel ban.

Traveling from Aruba will not be possible once Aruba has been removed from the list of exception countries. They may have to stay for two weeks in a country that is still on the exception list.

  1. A Dutch business owner with a subsidiary in the U.S. needs to visit the office in the U.S. to renegotiate the lease and interview new team members for the U.S. The owner has no visa and used to travel to the U.S. on an ESTA. Can he/she apply for the NIE process, and how long would it take for feedback on the request? Are there limitations as to what the person is allowed to do.

Answer: This owner can apply for the economic exception for Senior Level Managers and Executives, and dependents. Via a request email to Amsterdamcovid19@state.gov the person will know in about a week whether the request will be approved. If approved the person will have to travel within 30 days of approval. Although travel to the U.S. is approved, the person is still not allowed to perform work in the U.S. The same rules apply as before Covid restrictions.

  1. After having been able to travel to the U.S. via the NIE Process in July, the person returns to the Netherlands. The person will have to return to the U.S. again later in August. Can this be done on the same exemption? For how long could the person have stayed in the U.S. on the initial exemption?

Answer: A new application will have to be filed via email Amsterdamcovid19@state.gov and this will be re-evaluated. If there was no previous visa granted, the person would have been allowed to stay in the U.S. for a maximum of 90 days, just like previous entries under ESTA Business.

  1. An E-visa holder and are currently in the U.S. Spouse and children have been in the Netherlands during the peak of the Corona crisis in the North East U.S. Is there an exemption under NIE to reunite the family in the U.S.? Would it have made a difference if it would have been an L-visa?

Answer: For both L and E dependents it is possible to apply for a NIE to travel back to the U.S. based on the position of the principal applicant. If they have current visas, they can re-enter the U.S. as dependents, adhering to the travel restrictions. They may not be eligible for NIE so they may have to come in from a third country not currently restricted after a two-week quarantine.

  1. A Turkish citizen with an existing L-visa for a Dutch company needs to travel from the Netherlands to the U.S. Does the proclamation apply to this person? Can the person apply for the NIE?

Answer: The PP9993 is not based on citizenship. It restricts travelers who have been physically present in the Schengen area. Therefor this person needs to apply for the NIE as he has a valid L-visa.

  1. An L1 visa holder and family has to travel to the Netherlands for a family emergency. Entry into the Netherlands and quarantine was successful, however will they be able to travel back to the U.S.?

Answer: Yes, as long as they have current visas and adhere to the proclamations and either get an NIE or come in through third country after 14 days of quarantining.

  1. A Visa holder is in the U.S. and feels that it is necessary to go back to the Netherlands however wants to make sure that he can get back to the U.S. Can the NIE be applied while still in the U.S. to prevent being stuck in the Netherlands if it gets denied?

Answer: No, you cannot apply for the NIE while in the U.S. The person should apply when they reach the Netherlands so they should consult with an U.S. immigration lawyer to see if they are likely to qualify for a NIE before they travel, as they can’t apply from inside the U.S.

MOST RELEVANT Q&A

  • Can dependents of E-visa holders who are now in the Netherlands travel back to the U.S. to join family?

Answer: Yes, for both L and E dependents it is possible to apply for a NIE to travel back to the U.S. based on the position of the principal applicant if they are current visa holders and comply with the travel/entry restrictions.

  • Can a Dutch student with E2 visa travel back to the family in the U.S.?

Answer: Yes, if they are current visa holders and comply with the travel/entry restrictions.

  • Are non-U.S. citizens currently in the U.S. on a work visa (e.g. L1B visa) allowed to travel internationally other than the EU and allowed back in the U.S.?

Answer: Yes, they can travel and are allowed back in the U.S. if they are current visa holders and comply with the travel/entry restrictions.

  • For Dutch nationals with an approved visa, but an expired travel stamp, what is the best strategy to gain re-entry to the U.S. under the executive order?

Answer: Assuming that travel stamp means visa stamp they must wait to be able to get an appointment and, in the meantime, apply for an NIE based on the Visa Waiver Program

  • Can a visa holder travel back to the U.S. after travelling to HQ in the Netherlands and can family travel with her/him?

Answer: Yes, for both L and E visa holders and their dependents it is possible to apply for a NIE to travel back to the U.S. based on the position of the principal applicant if they are current visa holders and comply with the travel/entry restrictions. They may qualify for an NIE.

  • Where can I find an update on the countries that are not subject to the travel ban?

Answer:
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-information.html

  • My re-entry permit expires on September 30th. Can I still enter the U.S. before the expiration date or does the U.S. government advices green card holders who are abroad to stay out of the U.S. until the Covid19 situation calms down?

Answer: Yes, as long as the person has a valid green card they can and should enter at any time before then.

  • What is the situation for O-visa holders? They are not mentioned anywhere.

Answer: Current O visa holders can come back in they comply with entry restrictions. They may not qualify for an NIE but should try for one first to avoid having to come in through a third country and quarantining.

For other specific questions you can contact the immigration law specialists who made this webinar possible:

  1. Hilde Cevaal – VisaVersa visa specialists. Contact Hilde: https://www.visaversa.com/contact/
  2. Steve Maggi – SMA Law, immigration attorney. Contact Steve: https://smalawyers.com/contact-sma-law/

Or you can contact us.

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