New Year Brings Changes To Immigration, US Travel

Written by David S. Rugendorf

The new year 2021 is likely to bring many changes to US immigration and travel requirements.  A new White House administration and the evolving situation regarding efforts to contain the global pandemic assure that we should hear of many developments in policies and procedures.  For starters, here are two such developments:

  • Negative COVID Tests To Be Required For All US Travelers – Effective January 26, all international air passengers will be required to show written proof of a negative COVID-19 test.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced the new policy, which will require negative test results within three days prior to departure.  The requirement applies to individuals regardless as to whether they have received vaccinations.  An individual who has previously received a positive coronavirus test within the past three months must provide documentation from a physician or public health official indicating the passenger has recovered and has been cleared for travel.  Currently, travelers from the United Kingdom are subject to a testing requirement as a precondition to boarding a U.S. flight.
  • Flexibility in Form I-9 Compliance Extended Through January – In 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced temporary flexibility in employer I-9 inspections.  This flexibility, which originally was set to expire on December 31, 2020, has been extended to January 31, 2021.  Under the flexibility policy, employers with employees working outside the office due to COVID-19 may conduct I-9 documentation reviews remotely (by video, email, fax, etc) instead of doing so in person, as is normally required.  Remote inspection must take place within three business days of hire.  Any documents inspected remotely must be examined in person within three business days after normal operations resume and the workplace is reopened.

We wish all of our clients and friends a happy new year.  Best wishes for a safe and successful 2021!

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