Trump Proclamation Suspends Entry of Immigrant Visa Applicants Into U.S. for 60 Days

By Alan Perkins and Melany Savitt

On April 22, 2020, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation temporarily suspending entry into the United States of certain foreign nationals outside the United States seeking immigrant visas. The Proclamation has several exceptions, and does not impact foreign nationals seeking permanent residence via adjustment of status in the United States. Note that most nonimmigrant visa and immigrant visa processing is already suspended due to temporary U.S. embassy and consular post closures as a result of COVID-19. Further changes are expected as the Proclamation directs the heads of various agencies to review temporary visa programs (which includes H-1B visa programs) over the next 30 days to determine ways to prioritize hiring U.S. workers.

Specific details of the Proclamation are as follows:

When: Effective starting April 23, 2020 at 11:59 PM EDT

Duration: 60 days (June 22, 2020) unless extended

The Suspension Applies:

  • If you are an immigrant visa applicant outside the U.S. when the suspension takes effect, and do not have another type of travel document that allows you to seek U.S. entry (e.g. valid immigrant visa, advance parole, etc.);
    • Immigrant visa applicants are foreign nationals applying for permanent residence (a green card) from outside the United States through a U.S. Consulate/Embassy

The Suspension Does Not Apply:

  • If you are in the United States in any status
  • To existing U.S. lawful permanent residents (green card holders)
  • To immigrant visa applicants seeking U.S. entry as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional to perform research to combat the spread of COVID-19, or to perform work essential to combatting, recovering from, or alleviating the effects of COVID-19 (this includes any spouse and unmarried children under 21, joining the applicant)
  • To EB-5 immigrant investor applicants
  • To the spouse and unmarried children (under 21) of U.S. citizens (including prospective adoptees)
  • To immigrant visa applicants who would further U.S. law enforcement objectives, or whose entry is in the national interest
  • To any member of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouse and children
  • To certain Special Immigrant Visa applicants and their spouse and children

Next Steps:

  • No later than 10 days prior to the expiration date, the Proclamation will be reviewed to determine whether it should be continued or modified
  • By May 23, 2020 nonimmigrant programs (e.g. H-1B, L-1A, L-1B, O-1, etc.) will be reviewed to recommend measures appropriate to “stimulate the economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of U.S. workers.”

We encourage companies and foreign nationals currently experiencing difficulties due to COVID-19, embassy closures, and this Proclamation to consult with counsel on potential strategies. Tonkon Torp’s Immigration Practice Group will continue to provide updates on this and any further executive actions impacting business immigration.

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