By: Shabnam Lotfi - Published on June 12th, 2020
We have heard from community members that airlines have refused to allow immigrant visa holders to board flights to the United States, although the individual was exempt from the travel bans. This has been the case for many immigrant visa holders who are the spouses of green card holders. If this situation applies to you or a family member, you need to contact the embassy that issued the visa and request that they coordinate with CBP to allow you to travel. Below please find a sample email that you can use when emailing the embassy.
Subject of Email: Urgent Assistance Requested for Mr. Ali Alavi
Body of Email:
Dear Consular Officer,
I write to respectfully ask for your immediate assistance. Mr. Ali Alavi received an immigrant visa from your embassy (see attached). His visa is set to expire on June 16, 2020. Qatar Airlines has refused to allow him to board, although he is exempt from each of the proclamations that restricts travel to the U.S.
At issue are two presidential proclamations. Under Proclamation 9992 (dated February 29, 2020), the “entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Islamic Republic of Iran during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.” Section 2 of the proclamation states that the limitations do not apply to (ii) any alien who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Mr. Alavi is the spouse of a U.S. lawful permanent resident (see copy of her green card and their marriage certificate attached), and therefore this proclamation does not apply to him.
Under Proclamation 10014 (dated April 23, 2020), the “entry into the United States of aliens as immigrants is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.” Section 2 states that this proclamation shall only apply to those who “do not have an immigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation…” Mr. Alavi was in possession of a valid immigrant visa on April 23, 2020. Thus, the proclamation does not apply to him.
I have attached a copy of his new travel itinerary. Please coordinate with CBP so that this information is accurately reflected in your systems and he can safely board his flight. He only has one chance left to board a flight before his visa expires.
Once the email is sent and the embassy agrees to assist you, then you need to prepare the passenger for his/her flight. When the passenger arrives at the airport, it is possible that the gate agent believes that the passenger is not allowed to board the flight. The passenger should respectfully request that the gate agent contact the Regional Carrier Liaison Group (RCLG). When the gate agent contacts RCLG, RCLG will contact CBP to confirm that the passenger can fly. The airline can then allow the passenger to board his/her flight.
RCLG is open 24 hours/day 7 days/week.
Also, do not bring any prohibited items to the airport. Do not bring banned food (i.e. zereshk) or excessive cash to the airport. Fly light and make the travel easy.