The State Department can no longer prevent international travelers from coming to New Jersey just because of a travel ban. Under the previous presidential administration, a travel ban to prevent the promulgation of a global pandemic applied collectively to noncitizens alike entering the U.S.
Is a travel ban the same as a visa ban?
A federal judge has sided with a conglomeration of parties who challenged the State Department’s actions. He determined that such a widespread ban without exempting those who would otherwise be eligible to enter the U.S. is illegal. The parties argued that a travel ban is not tantamount to a ban on visas. The judge agreed. The government’s interpretation of the applicable immigration law to disallow entry to foreigners was not the true intent of the travel ban.
The ban on travelers from certain countries that had high virus infection rates remains intact. However, it is expected, nonetheless, that international travelers from several countries will be allowed into the U.S. if they are fully vaccinated. But a travel ban will no longer prevent eligible visitors with valid visas from coming to the U.S. if they are otherwise qualified to enter.
This ban not only impacted international travel, but it also affected the economy as many foreign workers were unable to return to the country, creating critical job shortages. In the wake of early fears, hundreds of H-1B visa holders returned to their countries to check on the welfare of family members. When they tried to return, the travel ban was implemented, preventing their timely return. Indian professionals in the technology industry were disproportionately impacted by this ban, and they lost out on many days of work.
There have been lawsuits filed against the government challenging the travel ban. However, the beneficiaries were only those who were party to the lawsuit. This victory is vastly different. Whereas the travel ban had collective consequences for international travelers, the success of the lawsuit has collective, positive ramifications for qualifying foreign citizens coming to the US.