On April 22, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation suspending the entry of any individual seeking to enter the United States as an immigrant who:
(1) Is outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation;
(2) Does not have a valid immigrant visa as of April 23, 2020; and
(3) Does not have a valid official travel document as of April 23, 2020, or issued on any date thereafter.
How long will this proclamation last? The proclamation went into effect at 11:59 pm (ET) on April 23, 2020, for at least 60 days. It can be extended and modified.
Does this apply to nonimmigrants? No. Nonimmigrant visa holders, such as H-1B holders, are not affected by this proclamation. However, the proclamation did state that there will be a review of temporary visa programs within 30 days and recommendations to stimulate the U.S. economy and ensure “the prioritization, hiring and employment” of U.S. workers. Roth Jackson will monitor this situation and issue updates as they are available.
Who can still enter the United States as exempt from the proclamation? There are several categories of immigrants who are not impacted.
• Lawful permanent residents (people who are already green card holders)
• People who have their immigrant visas as described above, but who have not yet entered the United States
• Individuals with pending adjustment of status (green card cases) who are in the United States
• Nonimmigrant visa holders
• Spouses and children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens. While most immediate relatives are therefore still eligible to immigrate, parents of U.S. citizens are not eligible for immigrant visa processing at the consulate for the duration of this proclamation.
• Healthcare workers (doctors, nurses, and other professionals), along with their spouses and children, seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa to perform medical research or other work essential to combatting COVID-19 (as determined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State (DOS))
• Individuals applying for a visa under the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program
• Individuals who would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives, as determined by DHS and DOS
• Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by DHS and DOS
• Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children
• Afghan and Iraqi nationals who were translators/interpreters or employed by the U.S. government and their spouses or children seeking entry pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa
What are the other current issues surrounding visa and case processing?
• Routine visa services at all U.S. embassies and consular posts around the world have been suspended as of March 20, 2020. U.S. embassies and consulates continue to provide urgent and emergency visa services as resources allow (such as for medical professional helping with COVID-19).
• Although U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has temporarily suspended in-person services, they continue to accept and process applications and petitions, including applications requesting an extension or change of status. As of April 24, 2020, USCIS has announced that they are preparing to reopen for in-person services “on or after June 4, 2020.”
• The U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico are closed for non-essential travel until at least May 20, 2020.
• With some exceptions, the entry of individuals who were present in China, Iran, the Schengen Area, the U.K., and Ireland, during the 14-day period before their attempted entry into the United States has also been suspended.