In March 2020, the State of Florida and the rest of the United States came to a halt. The novel virus labeled COVID-19, commonly known as the Coronavirus, became a global pandemic, threatening to kill hundreds of thousands of people. In efforts to mitigate the spread of the illness (for which there is still no vaccine or clear course of treatment), the federal and state governments enacted policies regarding social distancing, travel restrictions, business closures and more.
These government policies included executive action on immigration. Foreign nationals who have recently been in China, Iran, European Schengen area, United Kingdom, Ireland, or Brazil are not allowed into the United States. U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents and U.S. Citizens who visited the aforementioned countries within the past 14 days can still enter the United States, but only through specified ports of entry and with a strong advisory to self-quarantine upon arrival. Furthermore, a general travel ban on all new immigration is in place until at least June 22, 2020.
With all of these restrictions in place, immigrants may feel discouraged. Those who were close to receiving their visas are now waiting outside the United States in limbo. Interviews at the consulate and even within the U.S. have been cancelled with no future date. And, obviously, most foreign nationals with vacation plans in the U.S. cannot currently enter with a B-2 Visa or through the Visa Waiver Program.
While it is true that thousands of people are prohibited from entering the United States, the good news – for now – is that an end is in sight. Some travel bans have specific end dates (like the 60-day immigration ban), while others are indefinite but narrowly and directly tied to COVID-19 hotspots. This indicates that the restrictions are temporary in nature. For those with pending visa applications, this could mean the difference between a denial of your case and mere postponement – the latter being the more likely scenario. Bottom line: Immigrants with a pending application should not withdraw their immigration application, and those considering submitting an application should not refrain from doing so. Hold your place in line; this, too, shall pass!
Another subtle yet significant impact of the Coronavirus on immigration is that immigration officials seem to be catching up on their work. For immigrants with pending applications in the United States where interviews are not required, we have seen an influx of approvals. While we cannot say with certainty that processing times have diminished, it does appear that the lack of interviews has allowed immigration officials time to review cases and make decisions.
If you have a pending immigration application or are considering applying for permanent resident status, contact our law firm today to schedule a consultation. Casanova Law is an immigration law firm in Wellington, Florida. Our leading attorney, Lourdes Maria Casanova, is an experienced immigration attorney and the daughter of immigrants. Attorney Casanova can assess the specific impact of the Coronavirus on your immigration case and strategize how to move forward.
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