On June 22, 2020, US President Trump issued a proclamation extending his earlier action to place additional temporary limits on the Consular issuance of new visas in the H-1B, L-1, and J Categories, while extending his previous limitation on new Green Cards, issued by Consulates. We wrote about it when it first happened and wanted to provide a more detailed review of the issues.
Short Summary: The Proclamation puts a temporary hold on the issuance of visas in the H-1B, L-1, and J Categories, and extends the hold on Green Cards, issued by US Consulates. The Proclamation does not affect you if you are in the United States, and have a valid visa—and it does not affect you if you are extending that visa or switching to a new status from within the United States. It does not affect any kind of visa application except for H-1B, L-1, and J visa. It does not affect O-1 cases, at all. And Canadian Citizens are also not affected.
The Context: The Proclamation affects people who are applying for Visas and Green Cards from outside of the United States. It is important to keep in mind that the proclamation does not limit Changes of Non-Immigrant Status (from one NIV status to another) or extensions of status. It also does not preclude processing of applications associated with permanent residency, such as labor certifications, I-140 immigrant visa petitions, or I-485 adjustment of status applications.
Who Does This Affect?: The Proclamation affects people who meet the following criteria:
People outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation (June 24, 2020),
Who do not have a non-immigrant visa or other official immigration document (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on that date, and
are seeking to obtain an H-1B visa, H-2B visa, L visa or certain categories of the J visa.
Additionally, accompanying dependents seeking to obtain H-4, L-2, or J-2 visas who were outside the U.S. on the effective date are also barred. There is no clarity on whether this affects dependents if the principal H-1B, H-2B, J-1, or L-1 beneficiary is already in the United States, or otherwise exempt.
Exceptions: The proclamation does not apply to:
Anyone who is inside the United States on June 24, 2020;
Individuals who are outside the United States and have a nonimmigrant visa or other official immigration document (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on June 24, 2020;
Lawful permanent residents of the United States (green card holders);
Spouses and children of U.S. citizens;
Individuals seeking to enter the United States to provide temporary labor or essential to the United States food supply chain; and anyone whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Departments of Homeland Security and State.
Canadian citizens seeking visas at Ports of Entry or Pre-Flight Clearance Posts.
Effective Date: The proclamation is effective June 24, 2020 and expires on December 31, 2020. The proclamation may be modified during this period as deemed necessary.
We invite you to contact us if we can help you to address any of the above.
April D. Harris and Kevin M. Dyer
Dyer Harris LLP