The Brazilian government allows U.S. citizens to enter Brazil as visitors for business or pleasure for up to 90 days without a visa. This has been good for tourism, but the lack of reciprocity rankles, as Brazilians must still apply for a visa in order to visit the United States.  

Over the past several years, Brazil has decided to reintroduce visa requirements for U.S. citizens (as well as Australians and Canadians). But the implementation of this change continues to be postponed, most recently until April 10, 2024, to avoid interfering with Brazil’s high tourist season. In connection with the anticipated implementation of the visa requirement, Brazil began accepting online e-visa applications in early December 2023. E-visas will cost approximately U.S.$81 ($80.00 plus $0.90 service fee) per person and will be valid for multiple entries over a five-year period once issued.

Despite this upcoming tightening of visa requirement for U.S. visitors, and in light of the cross-border remote work and global mobility trend ever since COVID-19 started, Brazil now has a relatively simple solution for individuals who wish to work remotely from Brazil, i.e., a digital nomad visa process for those who are self-employed or who would like to live in Brazil while working remotely for a company abroad. To be eligible, an individual must prove their employment, a minimum monthly income of approximately U.S.$1,500.00 or availability of bank funds in the minimum amount of US $18,000 at the time of application and must also have health insurance coverage. Digital nomad visas are issued for one year and can be extended for another year. Applications must be made at the closest Brazilian consulate and are typically processed in two to four weeks.

All estimated fees or processing times are subject to change depending on respective government processing changes.

If you have questions, Jackson Lewis attorneys in our immigration and international employment practice groups are available to assist with the requirements and decisions necessary for employees’ business travel, temporary remote work abroad and permanent international transfers.

Beginning 11:59 p.m. on May 26, 2020, travelers from Brazil will be restricted from entering the U.S. under President Donald Trump’s “Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Novel Coronavirus.”

President Trump added Brazil to the list of countries subject to his previous ban because COVID-19 cases have been spiking in that country. Brazil joins the list of 30 other countries that includes the U.K., Ireland, China, Iran, and the 26 Schengen area countries. Foreign nationals who have been in these countries during the preceding 14 days will not be allowed to enter the U.S., unless they are exempted.

The list of exemptions is long. It includes:

  • Lawful permanent residents (LPRs), a.k.a. “Green Card Holders”
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens and LPRs
  • Parents or legal guardians of a U.S. citizen or LPR who is unmarried and under the age of 21
  • Siblings of a U.S. citizen or LPR who is unmarried and under the age of 21
  • Child, foster child, or ward or a U.S. citizen or LPR, or a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the U.S. in IR-4 or IH-4 classifications
  • Aliens traveling at the invitation of the U.S. government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the coronavirus
  • Aliens traveling as a nonimmigrant pursuant to crew member status (C-1, D, or C-1/D) or any alien otherwise traveling to the U.S. as air or sea crew
  • Aliens seeking entry or transiting in the following statuses: A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of an official), E-1 [as an employee of TECRO or TECO (Taipei Economic or Cultural Representative Office) or the employee’s immediate family members], G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATP-4, or NATO-6 status
  • Aliens whose travel falls within Section 11 of the United Nationals Headquarters Agreement
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children
  • Any alien whose entry would not pose a significant risk of introducing, transmitting, or spreading the coronavirus, as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the CDC Director or his designee
  • Any alien whose entry would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretaries of State or Homeland Security or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee
  • Any alien whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretaries of State or Homeland Security or their designees

The ban also does not affect eligibility for asylum, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment.

While these bans have been advertised as temporary, none of them have been terminated to date.

If you have questions about the restrictions and exemptions or the COVID-19 travel restrictions at the Northern and Southern borders, please reach out to your Jackson Lewis attorney. We will continue to provide updates as they become available.

 

In a move that likely will give a boost to the Brazilian tourism industry, the Brazilian government has announced that U.S. citizens can now visit Brazil without a visa. Citizens of Australia, Canada, and Japan also have received this cost-saving and time-saving benefit.

Continue Reading Brazil Lifts Visa Requirement for U.S. Citizens

Italy and Japan have joined the list of countries making it possible for employees to spend time abroad on digital nomad visas (DNVs). These visas give individuals the ability to work abroad remotely and temporarily while remaining on their current company’s payroll and without having to go through a lengthier work permit and visa process.

Japan instituted its digital nomad visa as of April 1, 2024. It allows eligible foreign nationals to work remotely in Japan for up to six months. The visas are not renewable. These visas may include family members.

Japanese DNV eligibility requirements:

  • Individuals must be nationals of countries designated by Japan as visa exempt.
  • Individuals must be providing professional services or selling goods to individuals or companies outside of Japan by working remotely.
  • Individuals must have an annual income of least JPY 10 million (approximately US$65,000).
  • Individuals must hold private medical insurance that covers treatment and repatriation in case of death, injury, or illness in Japan.
  • Individuals’ spouses and family members must also be nationals of designated Japanese visa-exempt countries, fully dependent on the primary applicant, and hold private medical insurance that covers treatment and repatriation.

Italy announced its DNV two years ago, but the process just became available on April 4, 2024. Under Italy’s DNV, individuals may remain in Italy for up to one year with an option to renew.

Italian DNV eligibility requirements:

  • Applicants must be carrying out “high quality work activity through the use of technological tools” that allow for remote work. This includes freelancers and those employed by companies outside of Italy who can work from anywhere.
  • Applicants must hold a college or university degree and six months of work experience in the field.
  • Absent a degree, applicants must have five years of work experience in the field.
  • Applicants must have an employment contract and pass a criminal record check.
  • Applicants must supply proof of 28,000 Euros annually (approximately US$30,000).
  • Applicants must provide evidence of housing and health insurance coverage.
  • Applicants’ family members may join the applicant with government approval.

Digital nomads can work and have a great, new cultural experience. It will be important for the applicants and companies involved to be aware of tax and benefit implications, local employment laws, communications, and cybersecurity strategies, among other things. See also: Visiting Brazil? Visa Requirement for Business or to Work Remotely | Immigration Blog (globalimmigrationblog.com)

Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist in remote work and DNV policies and practices as well as related employment or assignment agreements and other international employment related considerations.

Diversity Visa (DV) Electronic Registration for Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 opens at noon ET on October 4, 2023, and closes at noon ET on November 7, 2023. There will be 55,000 Diversity Visas available for FY 2025.

There is no cost to register, but, if selected, applicants must pay the visa application or I-485 Adjustment of Status fees. Filing more than one application will lead to disqualification for the program.

Individuals born in certain countries are not eligible to apply because more than 50,000 nationals of those countries have immigrated to the United States in the past five years. The list of ineligible countries includes:

Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, including Hong Kong, SAR (natives of Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Venezuela and Vietnam.

Except for the United Kingdom, the “ineligible” list is the same as it was last year. This year, natives of the United Kingdom and its dependent territories are eligible.

Eligibility requirements and application instructions are on the Diversity Lottery website. Only the primary applicant (not dependents) must meet the eligibility requirements. Beyond nationality, the primary applicant must have:

  • At least a high school diploma or its equivalent; or
  • Two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience.

The Department of State describes how to confirm eligibility on its website.

Interested applicants should apply early and not wait until the last week, when heavy demand could lead to website delays. Applicants must apply online. No late or paper entries are accepted. Non-U.S. residents seeking to obtain a green card who are otherwise eligible may apply even if they are living abroad.

Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to answer questions about the Diversity Lottery process.

The Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery is open for FY 2024. Applications may be filed online until 12:00 p.m. ET on November 8, 2022. 

The DV Lottery program makes 50,000 immigrant visas (“green cards”) available every year to applicants from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Eligible individuals must meet certain requirements but do not need a sponsor. To be eligible, the individual must have at least two years of high school or its equivalent or two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience. Eligible occupations are listed on the Department of State website per the instructions. Multiple applications are not allowed.

For the 2024 program, individuals from the following countries are NOT eligible:

Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, including Hong Kong SAR, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea (South Korea), United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland and its dependent territories), Venezuela and Vietnam.  Natives of Macau SAR and Taiwan ARE eligible. It is possible to apply based on a spouse’s country of birth.

The multi-step process is done online. It is important to follow the instructions on the Department of State website carefully.

Individuals may apply from abroad or from within the United States. Notably, individuals may apply for the DV even if they are currently pursuing permanent residence through the labor certification process. That is, the processes are not mutually exclusive.

If you have questions about the DV Lottery, please reach out to your Jackson Lewis attorney.

As governments and people all over the world await more scientific data about the transmissibility and danger of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, countries are quickly issuing travel restrictions – primarily restricting travel from southern Africa. The restrictions vary from full border closures to suspending flights, enforcing quarantines, restricting arrivals, and requiring testing.

The list will likely grow and change, but as of this date and time, the countries enforcing restrictions include:

Angola, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Maldives, Malta, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, United Kingdom, and the United States.

While some nations, like Japan, have opted for stringent measures, such as closing their borders to international travelers entirely, other countries have opted for targeted travel closures. Most of the bans restrict entry by individuals who have been in the subject countries within 14 days of travel. The countries subject to many of these bans are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. These countries, all in southern Africa, are condemning the restrictions as a punishment for being open and transparent about the emerging strain, noting that Omicron has already been found in other countries, including Scotland and Canada. Indeed, the new variant reportedly was found as early as November 19, 2021, and is in 20 countries, including those in Europe.

Given the changing circumstances, checking with airlines and embassies prior to travel is essential.

As long as they can show that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, foreign travelers will be allowed to visit the United States beginning November 8, 2021, according to the Biden Administration.

Until now, we knew only that the 14-day travel restrictions and the northern and southern border restrictions would be lifted sometime in November. Now, it has been reported that all these restrictions will be lifted, and new vaccination requirements will take effect on November 8, 2021.

On September 20, 2021, the Administration announced it would lift the 14-day travel restrictions that affected individuals trying to enter the United States from China, Iran, the UK and Ireland, the 26 Schengen Zone countries, Brazil, South Africa, and India in November. The quid pro quo for that was that all foreign travelers from any country would have to be fully vaccinated and provide a negative COVID-19 test three days before their proposed entry date to board an airplane to the United States.

On October 14, 2021, the Administration announced the northern and southern border restrictions that had been in place since March 2020 would be lifted when the 14-day travel restrictions were lifted and, at that time, fully vaccinated individuals could enter for any purpose. One proviso: unvaccinated individuals will still be able to enter the United States until January 2022 at land and sea ports of entry, but only if they are entering for “essential” purposes – such as work.

Details about exceptions or exemptions have not been released. We will provide updates as soon as those are available.

The United States will open its northern and southern land borders to fully vaccinated foreign nationals sometime in November 2021. When this happens, it will be the first time since March 2020 that these individuals will be able to enter the United States from Canada and Mexico for “non-essential” purposes, such as tourism, shopping, and family gatherings.

The reopening is expected to occur in two phases. During the first phase, fully vaccinated foreign nationals will be able to enter for non-essential purposes. Unvaccinated individuals will still be able to enter for essential purposes, including for work. During the second phase, scheduled to go into effect in early January 2022, all foreign nationals, whether entering for essential purposes or not, will have to be fully vaccinated. The expectation is that there will be limited exceptions, for example for children.

The “essential travel” restrictions applied only to land and sea borders. Foreign nationals have been able to fly into the United States from Canada or Mexico if they met the COVID-19 testing requirements. In November, however, new COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements will be in place for all air travel. All foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States from anywhere, with limited exceptions, will have to be fully vaccinated, as well as show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure. Unvaccinated U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents will need to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 24 hours of boarding a flight to the United States and undergo testing upon arrival.

The United States is a little late to the border game. Canada reopened its border to fully vaccinated Americans on August 9, 2021, and to other fully vaccinated foreign nationals on September 7, 2021. It is still not clear exactly when the new U.S. rules will become effective. The United States already announced that the 14-day travel restrictions on China, Iran, the UK and Ireland, the 26 Schengen Zone countries, Brazil, South Africa, and India are scheduled to be lifted sometime in “early” November. The northern and southern border restrictions will be lifted at the same time. We are still awaiting official guidance on documentation requirements and the implementation date.

Jackson Lewis attorneys will provide updates as they become available.

The State Department cannot rely on presidential proclamations to refuse to adjudicate visas, Judge James E. Boasberg in the U.S. District Court for the D.C. District has held.

Judge Boasberg said nothing about what the State Department needs to do in line with its opinion, but established that the Administration’s travel restrictions did not include visa restrictions.

Since the issuance of the Presidential Proclamations restricting the entry of foreign nationals who have spent any time during the 14 days prior to their entry in over 30 countries (China, Iran, the UK and Ireland, the Schengen Zone countries, Brazil, South Africa and India), most U.S. Consulates abroad have been refusing to issue or even schedule visa interview appointments for individuals who do not qualify for National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) to the Proclamation. This has meant that even foreign nationals who were willing to wait out the 14 days in non-restricted countries would have difficulty getting a visa. It was a Catch-22. If they stayed in a restricted country, they might not get a visa because they did not qualify for an NIE and if they went to a non-restricted country, they might not get visas because they were third-country nationals.

The court recognized that this whole issue may soon become moot because the Biden Administration has said that the 14-day travel restrictions will be lifted in early November. But even when the restrictions are lifted and the Consulates go back to issuing visas rather than NIEs, it is likely that backlogs and delays will persist.

Visa processing at U.S. Consulates abroad was effectively suspended from March through July 2020. Since then, Consulates started a phased resumption of services. However, services are still not fully restored due to various COVID-19 restrictions abroad and many U.S. Consulates are not even fully staffed. As Consulates rely on visa fees rather than government funding, some have been unable to hire new staff due to the lack of fees. This means that it may be difficult for Consulates to staff up to eliminate backlogs.

If you have any questions about the effect of the D.C. Court’s ruling, Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist.