US Immigration & Visa Options During this Surreal Time
Dev B. Viswanath, Esq.
If you are like me, then you might be wondering, when all of this changes to our daily lives
might end? When can I go out with friends? Or out to eat? Or to the movies? In the immigration
world, we are also left with other questions related to when the government may restart
processing of so many applications and visa issuance. This may be even more of a concern after
President Trump issued an executive order proclaiming a ban to US Permanent Residence for a
temporary period of 60 days, initially. The good news, is that there are still plenty of areas that
are open in the immigration sector, and the President’s order, while damming, is actually quite
limited in scope and duration.
First off, the President’s Order only applies to people who are awaiting green cards. It does not
apply to any non-immigrant categories. Furthermore, his Order is only towards people awaiting
green cards that are outside of the United States. So anyone awaiting adjustment of status is not
effected by the Order. Moreover, spouses and children under 21 who are abroad are also exempt
from the Order. People who are beneficiaries of the EB-5 Investor Program are also unaffected.
They can, if visa processing begins, move forward with green card processing.
There are also several others sectors of US Immigration that are still open and functioning.
USCIS is still accepting applications for I-130 (family based petition), I-140 (employment based
petition), I-589 (Asylum), I-129 (Religious Workers, H1bs, L1 petitions), F1 student Petitions.
Essentially all petition based immigration aspects are still open and available for people. There
is no premium processing available, but applications can be filed, and if premium processing is
restarted then it can be upgraded at a later point. Extensions of Status in I-539 form are also
available. And Border Crossing status and petitions, such as the TN visa. What cannot be
finalized are the interview based applications (I-485, N-400, N-600). They can be processed up
to the point of interview. In addition, biometrics and fingerprinting while being suspended at
the moment, USCIS is exercising its ability to re-run fingerprint and biometrics taken at an
In summary, while we are still in a very deep and dark period of chaos and illness in America
and the World , life must find a way to move on and our society and government will do so. We
need to do the best we can to stay prepared and be vigilant and also accept that we need to
continue living, despite the changes to our daily lives. If you have any questions or concerns on
Immigration Matters, please contact and experienced immigration attorney.