President Trump Extends His Proclamation Suspending Visa Issuance to Some Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visa Applicants!
Dev B. Viswanath, Esq.
On June 22, 2020, President Trump signed a proclamation continuing Proclamation 10014 issued on April 22, 2020, (effective immediately) and suspending the entry of certain nonimmigrants and Immigrant Visas that took effect and was to remain in effect at least until December 31, 2020. Then on December 31st, 2020, Outgoing President Trump, in his infinite wisdom decided to extend the proclamation again through March 31, 2021, which is more than two months after he is to leave office and a new President will be inaugurated. President-Elect Joe Biden will likely make several changes to the immigration policies of the current President.
First, off, the proclamation applies to all family based and employment based immigrant visas which are subject to the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin. This means that people who are outside the United States and awaiting issuance of Permanent Resident Visas (Immigrant Visas), will be stuck waiting for additional weeks, possibly months, until this proclamation can expire, or the new President withdraws the proclamation. This order does not apply to people that are in the United States already.
Trump to sign executive order suspending certain work visas through 2020
The order also applies to temporary/non-immigrant visa categories such as H-1B visas, H-2B visas, H-4 visas, L-1 visas and certain J-1 visas. This is President Trump’s way of marking his signature on immigration matters as he makes a not-so-peaceful exit.
H-1B visas are used for skilled workers and are common in the tech industry and is the largest visa program of those included in Monday’s order as its recipients can stay for multiple years.
H-2B visas apply to seasonal workers.
H-4 visas are given to spouses of H-1B and H-2B visa holders.
J-1 visas are given to researchers, scholars and other specialized categories such as au pairs. Roughly 300,000 J-1 visa recipients come to the U.S. every year.
L-1 visas are used for executives, managers, or those with Specialized Knowledge within the company transferring to the United States to the US affiliate, from positions abroad with the same employer.
As stated above, the order does not apply to those already in the United States. And Foreign Nationals applying for visas to provide labor “essential to the United States food supply chain” are exempt. And those people “whose entry would be in the national interests” as determined by the federal government are exempt as well.
Canadians Are Not Subject to the Proclamation
Canadians entering as H, L or J nonimmigrants are exempt from the Presidential Proclamation. Guidance has been provided to local CBP ports on this issue. However, it has been clear that the information has not totally been received by CBP offices, so applicants for entry should be ready to defend their position or have an attorney to assist.
Individuals with Valid Visas Prior to Proclamation’s Effective Date Are Not Subject to the Proclamation Regardless of Previous Entry
Those with valid visas issued prior to the effective date of the Proclamation will be allowed entry regardless of whether they have come in before or not on that visa.
If you have any questions on the direction or state of our country on immigration issues, please do reach out to and consult with an experienced Immigration Attorney.