Travel & Immigration
Many segments of our immigration system have been impacted by the pandemic. On April 20th, President Trump announced he would be temporarily suspending all immigration to the US. We will continue to update our community as the President provides more details on this action.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services has begun offering automatic extensions of certain types of status, and is also granting two-month extensions for most Requests for Evidence and other notices that require a response from the applicant. The Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota has been tracking changes to immigration operations, and you can see a fuller list of the impacts here. You should not assume your status or application is impacted without confirming with your attorney. Please call my office at (612) 333-1272 if you have questions about how these changes will impact you.
As of March 18, all USCIS appointments in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Field Office are canceled. The Field Office will stay open for urgent and emergency appointments. If you have an urgent need, please contact my office as well as the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283.
Worldwide, U.S. Embassies are operating with reduced staffing levels, and all routine appointments have been cancelled. Please contact my office if you have questions about how your case will be impacted.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been cancelling in-person check-in appointments. Individuals should call the St. Paul ICE Field Office at (612) 843-8600 before traveling to a scheduled appointment.
ICE has signaled that they will focus on arresting people with criminal histories. However, they have made no binding commitments to cease enforcement in hospital settings, stop arresting people without criminal histories, release at-risk detainees, or suspend deportations. All immigrants should stay informed of their legal rights.
Returning to the U.S. (Citizens and Permanent Residents)
The Department of State issued a Level 4 advisory for all international travel on Thursday, March 19. This is the US Government’s most serious warning, instructing all Americans abroad to return to the US or shelter in place. All Americans are strongly encouraged to cancel international travel and prepare to return home as quickly as possible.
Many countries have closed their borders to slow the spread of the virus, impacting thousands of Americans worldwide. When these closures happen, the Department of State has limited ability to help Americans return home. Even if you are not impacted by a border closure, commercial airlines are rescheduling or canceling flights regularly, and you should be prepared to address changes in your travel plans. The State Department has emphasized that flights they arrange should not be considered a backup plan in the event that your commercial flight is cancelled before departure. They strongly recommend that you book commercial travel back to the US immediately.
If you are traveling or living abroad, you should immediately enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. The State Department uses this system to send information about travel alerts, security issues, and possible restrictions. Additionally, the Bureau of Consular Affairs has a 24-hour hotline if you are abroad and need travel assistance due to the pandemic. You can call the hotline at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries or jurisdictions.
Additionally, my staff can help advocate for you if you are unable to find a way to get home. Please email MN05.firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Returning to the U.S. (Other Visa Holders)
The Department of Homeland Security has announced travel restrictions that impact many individuals who have legal US visas but are not US citizens, permanent residents, or an immediate family member. Please refer to the DHS fact sheet on which travelers are impacted by these restrictions. If you do not immediately qualify for admission but have a valid US visa, please contact my office for assistance.
As always, the safety of you and your loved ones is of utmost importance. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or my office whenever we can be of service. You can also visit my website to view Covid-19 updates and resources.