International Travel for Foreign National Employees – What to Know International Travel for Foreign National Employees – What to Know

International Travel for Foreign National Employees – What to Know

The ultimate fate of President Trump’s controversial “travel ban” remains uncertain as his administration has now appealed a lower court’s injunction to the U.S. Supreme Court. The “travel ban,” which is one provision of an executive order issued shortly after President Trump took office in January, has hit a series of roadblocks since being signed. The original order was revoked after a district court decision to issue a temporary restraining order against the travel ban was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but a revised order was issued in March and quickly challenged again with the lower courts blocking the new order from taking effect as well.  The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision last month, and the decision to hear and rule on the issue now lies with the U.S. Supreme Court. While the “travel ban,” if implemented, would officially prohibit only individuals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the U.S., all foreign nationals should consider their international travel needs and required documents when making travel plans.

Employers with foreign national employees should understand the additional considerations these individuals have when traveling and ensure they are knowledgeable about requirements for readmission. With respect to individuals from the six (6) countries listed above, strong consideration should be given to the travel need and any associated risks, despite the injunction that is currently in place. For all foreign nationals, steps should be taken to ensure their eligibility for readmission after travel abroad. Specifically, foreign nationals should be sure to check the validity of their status documents. Passports must be valid for six (6) months beyond the period of intended stay in the U.S., so foreign nationals currently in the U.S. who plan to travel internationally and then return should ensure their passports will meet the validity requirements upon their return trip. While there are specific exceptions, most foreign nationals require valid visa stamps in their passports for readmission to the U.S. as well. Visa stamps can be obtained only at U.S. embassies and consulates outside of the U.S., and that process involves a visa application form and in-person interview by appointment only. As the summer months are a traditionally busy travel season, appointment wait times can be lengthy, and applicants should plan accordingly. Upon admission to the U.S., foreign nationals must obtain a copy of their lawful record of admission to confirm the category and expiration of their status. This record, captured on Form I-94, is available online at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94. Once in the U.S., this I-94 record is the most important document for a foreign national, as it confirms how long he or she can remain in the U.S. Foreign nationals should review their record upon each entry to the U.S. Any errors must be identified and corrected immediately, as failure to timely depart or pursue an extension of stay based on the I-94 expiration is an immigration violation and can have negative implications on an individual’s status and employment authorization, as well as eligibility for current and future immigration benefits.

Please contact Christl Glier, Jenifer Brown, or any member of the firm’s Immigration Group with questions regarding your foreign national employees and international travel considerations.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.

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