President Trump has issued a Proclamation that suspends the entry of foreign nationals on certain employment-based nonimmigrant visas into the United States. The Proclamation takes effect on June 24, 2020 at 12:01 AM ET. It will remain in effect through December 31, 2020 and may be continued or modified, as necessary.
The Proclamation suspends the entry of any foreign national who is seeking to enter the U.S. pursuant to a(n):
- H-1B visa or H-2B visa, and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them;
- J visa, to the extent the foreign national is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them; and
- L visa, and any foreign national accompanying or following to join them.
The Proclamation will only apply to an individual identified above if they are:
- Outside the United States on the effective date of the Proclamation;
- Do not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of the Proclamation; and
- Do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, boarding foil, or advance parole document), valid on the effective date of the Proclamation or issued thereafter permitting the individual to be admitted to the United States.
Exemptions – The Proclamation will not apply to the following individuals:
- a) lawful permanent residents;
- b) spouse or child of a U.S. citizen;
- c) any individual seeking entry to provide temporary labor essential to the U.S. food supply chain;
- d) any individual whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.
For the purposes of determining who is covered under the “national interest” exemption, the Proclamation directs the Secretaries of State, Labor, and Homeland Security to determine standards for those to whom such an exemption would be available, including any individuals who:
- a) are critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the United States;
- b) are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized;
- c) are involved with the provision of medical research at U.S. facilities to help the United States combat COVID-19;
- d) are necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States; or
- e) are children who would age out of eligibility for a visa because of this Proclamation or Proclamation 10014.
It is important to note that the Proclamation does NOT suspend all entry of individuals who hold nonimmigrant visas. The Proclamation specifically applies to individuals who must apply for nonimmigrant visas outside the country and subsequently travel to the U.S. and who do not have an alternative travel document (such as Advance Parole) that permits them to travel to the U.S. and seek entry or admission.
TN, E-1 E-2, E-3, and O-1 nonimmigrant worker visas remain unaffected. Employees currently in the U.S. seeking to change their nonimmigrant status or apply for extensions within the U.S. will not be affected by this Proclamation.
Given this Proclamation and additional COVD-19 related travel restrictions that are currently in effect, all current H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and J-1 nonimmigrant visa holders should avoid international travel. If travel is absolutely necessary, it is strongly advised that you discuss with our office first and that you ensure the validity of your current nonimmigrant visa prior to leaving the U.S.
At this early stage, there is still uncertainty regarding how the Proclamation will be implemented and who may be exempted. We are awaiting clarification from the government and will update you as we receive more information.
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