Since the publication of his memoir, Spare, many have speculated about whether Prince Harry was properly vetted for drug addiction or illegal possession of controlled substances when applying for a US visa. According to the memoir, prior to his marriage to his American wife Meghan Markle, with whom he now resides in California, he used cannabis in the UK and California and cocaine in the UK. When a foreign national seeking entry to the United States admits to using controlled substances, this can trigger criminal and mental health related grounds for inadmissibility. Prince Harry, however, is likely not subject to the standard security and background check measures because, we theorize, he is traveling on an A-1 Head of State visa.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced the launch of The Welcome Corps on 19 January 2023. This is a large scale initiative to harness the volunteer spirit surrounding the welcoming of refugees to the United States, inspired in part by the Canadian private groups in support of refugees program.
Many Ukrainians have crossed into Germany since 24 February 2022 when Russia invaded. Some may want passage to the United States. Those fearing return to Ukraine need to ask for asylum with the German Government. The US Embassy only offers assistance to those desiring non-immigrant visas, usually for visitors and students, and to those eligible for immigrant visas, usually relatives of US citizens and lawful permanent residents. The US Mission in Germany has posted information to help Ukrainians applying for non-immigrant and immigrant visas in Germany.
Many Ukrainians have crossed into Poland since 24 February 2022 when Russia invaded. Some may want passage to the United States. Those fearing return to Ukraine need to ask for asylum with the Polish Government. The US Embassy only offers assistance to those desiring non-immigrant visas, usually for visitors and students, and to those eligible for immigrant visas, usually relatives of US citizens and lawful permanent residents. The US Mission in Poland has posted information to help Ukrainians applying for non-immigrant and immigrant visas in Poland.
(Updated 9 November 2021) This article is now out of date. You no longer need a national interest exception to visit the United States. All NIEs granted before November 8 are now invalid!!! With the onset of middle summer 2021 in the United Kingdom, the need to travel to the United States grew dramatically. Announcements were made about loosening of quarantine restrictions upon return from the US as an amber country. Even with a valid ESTA or non-immigrant visa however, if you need to travel to the United States and are a foreign national coming from the United Kingdom, most likely you will have to either (1) make time to be in Mexico, or another non Schengen, UK or Ireland country for a full 14 days before entering the US, or (2) obtain a national interest exception (NIE). The US Embassy in London can take 3-4 weeks to grant a national interest exception to travel directly to the US despite the travel ban. Urgent exceptions for humanitarian travel reasons may be granted for emergencies more quickly - like to see a dying parent or sibling. Please consider making the request yourself by following these directions:
(Updated November 10, 2021). This article contains concepts useful to request a visa interview during a time of scarce visitor visa interviews. National interest exceptions are no longer needed to travel to the United States. Consular officers from Berlin and Frankfurt presented via Zoom at an event sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany (“AmCham Germany”) March 22, 2021, to explain the national interest exception guidance published by the US Department of State on March 2, 2021.
(Updated 14 May 2023)
As of 11 May 2023, the requirement to be vaccinated against COVID-19 ended for all air travelers to the US. This requirement expired on the same date for US Federal employees and Federal contractors, as well.
Update: The fee rule described in this blog did not go into effect on October 2, 2020! Click through for the full update. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the domestic immigration agency USCIS have been complaining that there are not adequate fees in their accounts to pay workers and have twice threatened 70% or 13,000 employees with furloughs in August 2020. At the end of July, the DHS/ USCIS released a final rule increasing many filing fees and introducing a 15-business day rather than 15-calendar day premium processing.
By Polina Dashevsky, Summer Intern
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) added two new chapters to their policy manual on July 15 2020: (1) Volume 1, Chapter 8 on the concept of “Discretionary Analysis,” as a general policy and procedure and (2) Volume 10, Chapter 5 on the application of discretion in employment authorization decisions.The ostensible purpose is to consolidate and clarify the existing policy guidance on the use and application of discretion. This blog focuses on the Discretionary Analysis general procedure chapter.
By Melissa Chavin
For a long time, the US foreign ministry, its State Department, appeared to “give up” the ghost with grading foreign countries based on their danger for US persons to visit. They kept the Global Travel Advisory Level at 4 “Do Not Travel” and allowed their staff to depart and come to the United States. As of August 6, 2020, the State Department began grading travel advisories by country again, dependent in part on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. Will this mean more visa issuance again for residents of the United Kingdom?