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:
- Is outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation;
- Does not have a valid immigrant visa as of April 23, 2020; and
- Does not have a valid official travel document as of April 23, 2020, or issued on any date thereafter.
The proclamation went into effect at 11:59 pm (ET) on April 23, 2020 and will last for at least 60 days. It can be extended and modified. The following categories are exempt from the proclamation:
- Lawful permanent residents (green card holders)
- Individuals, and their spouses and children, seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; 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 to enter the U.S. pursuant to the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program
- Spouses and children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens, including prospective adoptees on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa
- Individuals who would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives (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
- Individuals whose entry would be in the national interest (as determined by DHS and DOS)
Discretion. It is within the discretion of the consular officer to determine if an individual is within one of the exempted categories outlined above.
Nonimmigrant Visa Holders (H, L, O, E, TN, etc.) and Asylum Seekers Are NOT Prohibited from Coming to the U.S. by the Proclamation.
- Routine visa services at all U.S. embassies and consular posts around the world remain suspended since March 20, 2020. U.S. embassies and consulates continue to provide urgent and emergency visa services as resources allow. DOS intends to continue to process visa applications for farm workers and medical professionals assisting with COVID-19.
- S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has temporarily suspended in-person services through at least May 3, 2020, but continues to accept and process applications and petitions, including applications requesting an extension or change of status.
- 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.
- The Proclamation requires 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.
We are closely monitoring the situation and will provide further updates as soon as we know more about the implementation of this Proclamation.
Thank you to the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association for their summary of the proclamation, on which this post is based.
Alka Bahal is a Partner and the Co-Chair of the Immigration Practice of Fox Rothschild LLP, specializing in corporate immigration law and compliance. Alka is situated in Fox Rothschild’s Morristown, New Jersey office though she practices throughout the United States and at Consulates worldwide. You can reach Alka at (973) 994-7800, or email@example.com.